Take Down The Union Jack (CD Three – Blue)

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And put it in the attic with the emperors old clothes
When did it fall apart? Sometime in the 80s
When the Great and the Good gave way to the greedy and the mean
Britain isn’t cool you know, its really not that great
It’s not a proper country, it doesn’t even have a patron saint
It’s just an economic union that’s passed its sell-by date

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And ask our Scottish neighbours if independence looks any good
‘Cos they just might understand how to take an abstract notion
Of personal identity and turn it into nationhood
Is this the 19th century that I’m watching on tv?
The dear old Queen of England handing out those MBEs
Member of the British Empire – that doesn’t sound too good to me

Gilbert and George are taking the piss aren’t they?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss.
What could be more British than here’s a picture of my bum?
Gilbert and George are taking the piss

Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset
And pile all those history books, but don’t throw them away
They just might have some clues about what it really means
To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England.co.uk

I know sometimes I’m not the man you married
I’m like some lame lead singer in a tribute band
And just as I snatch victory from the jaws of my defeat
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet

Well I never forget that I’m someone’s Daddy
But I guess I must be careless with my time
‘Cos just when I think that I’ve got my weekend planned
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet

I ain’t never been no follower of fashion
But just like you I’ve got my sense of style
So why is it whenever we’re together on the street
You pull the carpet out from underneath my feet

It’s not like you don’t love me anymore
You just like to send me sprawling on the floor

Just like Caesar had his slave to keep him mortal
I guess I’ve got you to cut me down to size
‘Cos there’s just no one else who can knock me off my feet
Nor pick me up when I’m feeling down

My mother was half English and I’m half English too
I’m a great big bundle of culture tied up in the red white and blue
I’m a fine example of your Essex man
And I’m well familiar with the Hindustan
Cos my neighbours are half English and I’m half English too

My breakfast was half English and so am I you know
I had a plate of Marmite soldiers washed down with a cappuccino
And I have a veggie curry about once a week
The next day I fry it up as bubble and squeak
Cos my appetites half English and I’m half English too

Dance with me to this very English melody
From morris dancing to Morrissey,
all that stuff came from across the sea

Britannia, she’s half English, she speaks Latin at home
St George was born in the Lebanon, how he got here I don’t know
And those three lions on your shirt,
They never sprang from England’s dirt
Them lions are half English and I’m half English too

Le-li Umma le-li-ya, le-li Umma le-li-ya,
Le-li Umma le-li-ya, bledi g’desh akh! le-li-ya

Oh my country, what a beautiful country you are

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© Billy Bragg 2019