Monday, 11 November 2013

Bombers Moon - Mike Harding

4 in Bomber County<BR>
young men waiting for the night, <BR>
In the hedgerows birds are singing, <BR>
Calling in the falling light. <BR>

And the captain says, <BR>
'Tonight there'll be a bomber's moon, <BR>
We'll be there and back underneath a bombers' moon. <BR>
A thousand bombers over the northern sea<BR>
Heading out, out for Germany.'<BR>

Chalkey White stands at the dartboard, <BR>
Curly Thompson writes to his wife, <BR>
Nobby Clarke and Jumbo Johnson<BR>
Are playing cards and smoking pipes; <BR>

And over the hangars rises a bombers' moon, <BR>
Full and clear rising, as the engines croon<BR>
And the planes they taxi out on to runway five<BR>
And sail off out into the silvery night. <BR>

Sandy Campbell checks his oil gauge, <BR>
The Belgian coast is coming soon; <BR>
Curly Thompson lifts his sextant, <BR>
Lines up on a bombers' moon<BR>

And waves are shining there below the bombers' moon. <BR>
The Lancasters flying high below the bombers' moon<BR>
Coming in along the Belgian coast<BR>
A thousand silver-shrouded ghosts. <BR>

Flak flies up around the city, <BR>
Jumbo Johnson banks his plane, <BR>
Goes in low and drops his payload, <BR>
Turns to join the pack again. <BR>

And people are dying there below the bomber's moon, <BR>
The city's a raging hell below the bomber's moon, <BR>
And the planes head out towards the northern sea: <BR>
Young men coming home from victory. <BR>

Over Belgium came the fighters, <BR>
Flying high against the night; <BR>
Curly Thompson saw them coming, <BR>
Closing in before he died. <BR>

And the young men shot them down below the bomber's moon, <BR>
Shot them down in flames below the bomber's moon; <BR>
Young men sending young men to their graves<BR>
Saw them down into the North Sea waves. <BR>
'83 in Bomber County<BR>
Mrs White dusts the picture and she cries: <BR>
Chalkey White in uniform<BR>
Looking as he did the day he died. <BR>

And for God's sake no more bombers' moons, <BR>
No more young men going out to die too soon, <BR>
Old men sending young men out to die, <BR>
Young men dying for a politician's lies. <BR>

For God's sake no more bombers' moons, <BR>
No more young men going out to die too soon, <BR>
Old men sending young men out to kill. <BR>
If we don't stop them then they never will. <BR>
No more no more bombers' moons. <BR>
No more no more bombers' moons. <BR>
No more no more bombers' moons. <BR>
No more no more bombers' moons. <BR>

If I can Dream - Elvis Presley

White Poppies are for Peace "The idea of decoupling Armistice Day, the red poppy and later Remembrance Day from their military culture dates back to 1926, just a few years after the British Legion was persuaded to try using the red poppy as a fundraising tool in Britain. A member of the No More War Movement suggested that the British Legion should be asked to imprint 'No More War' in the centre of the red poppies instead of ‘Haig Fund’ and failing this pacifists should make their own flowers. The details of any discussion with the British Legion are unknown but as the centre of the red poppy displayed the ‘Haig Fund’ imprint until 1994 it was clearly not successful. A few years later the idea was again discussed by the Co-operative Women's Guild. In 1933 the first white poppies appeared on Armistice Day (called Remembrance Day after World War Two). The white poppy was not intended as an insult to those who died in the First World War - a war in which many of the white poppy supporters lost husbands, brothers, sons and lovers - but a challenge to the continuing drive to war. The following year the newly founded Peace Pledge Union began widespread distribution of the poppies and their annual promotion." Taken from

Monday, 30 September 2013

G. G. Osborne speech CPC2013; CCR - Fortunate Son

I've been a little busy with my everyday life to blog recently but George Osborne got under my skin today - and not in a good way.

I didn't hear all of his speech, as I was travelling for work, but what I heard seemed to be full of contradictions and made-up stuff. Apparently in a country such as Britain, where we dug deep for coal and explored the North sea for oil and gas, we shouldn't be afraid of extracting shale gas and shale oil. But also we should admire Thatcher for recognising the need to modernise (or whatever he said); is that the same Thatcher that closed the mines and destroyed Britains industrial heartlands?

Osborne said that Labour should have run a surplus during the good times; would that be the same good times during Osborne pledged to match Labour spending? Osborne plans to make individuals have been long-term unemployed undertake work-placements in exchange for their JSA payments. So there is work that these people can do; they just can't actually get paid a fair wage to do it?

Osborne decried Miliband's plan to reform the energy market by stating that if the price freeze were to be a realistic possibility then energy providers would jack up the price before and after the freeze to recoup there profits; seemingly failing to recognise that this sort of behaviour is why the market needs reforming and that if it is possible to hike prices before a price freeze then it only shows how ineffectual the regulation of the energy market is.

During his speech he also stated that his parents took a risk and started their own business and that he grew up with his father running the business. He may be trying to present himself as a pro-business guy who recognises that people take risks but he can't seriously expect us to believe that his parents were actually staking their livelihood on a decorating business? Risk is where something bad might actually happen, not playing at setting up a shop with inherited capital. If the business failed they would not have been destitue, possibly poorer, but not homeless, hungry and without hope.

 Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son Songwriters: JOHN C. FOGERTY
Some folks are born to wave the flag,
Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,

It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no senator's son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me;
I ain't no fortunate one, no, Yeah!

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,

It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no millionaire's son, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me;
I ain't no fortunate one, no.

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
 And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh,

 It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, one.
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no no no,

Monday, 9 September 2013


TUC this week - a special union song; Solidarity Forever. The Union makes us strong. I especially like the slide in this video that says; "When someone tells you they got rich through hard work, ask them Whose?"

The Universal Soldier -

The song Universal Soldier was written in the 1960s by Canadian Buffy Sainte-Marie and is therefore bound up with the Vietnam War protest movement. The song was written as a general protest against war and therefore has wider connotations. The pretext, as Sainte-Marie explains in this video is that each individual must bear responsibility for individual actions. If enough people come together and say we will not fight, then war will end. In an enlightened society, where people have the ability and the freedom to come to their own conclusions then war will end. In a closed society, where people have neither the freedom or the information from which to make up their own mind then people will continue to fight their fellow people.
He's 5 foot 2 and he's 6 feet 4 He fights with missiles and with spears He's all of 31 and he's only 17. He's been a soldier for a thousand years He's a catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, A Buddhist, and a Baptist and Jew. And he knows he shouldn't kill And he knows he always will kill You'll for me my friend and me for you And He's fighting for Canada. He's fighting for France. He's fighting for the USA. And he's fighting for the Russians. And he's fighting for Japan And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way. And He's fighting for democracy, He's fighting for the reds He says it's for the peace of all. He's the one, who must decide, who's to live and who's to die. And he never sees the writing on the wall. But without him, how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau? Without him Caesar would have stood alone He's the one who gives his body as a weapon of the war. And without him all this killing can't go on He's the universal soldier And he really is the blame His orders comes from far away no more. They come from him. And you and me. And brothers can't you see. This is not the way we put an end to war

Monday, 19 August 2013

No fracking way

There was a knock one morning, a man was standing at my door He said, hello, I'm from Halliburton, have you heard of us before? We'd like to lease your backyard to drill for natural gas It's called hydraulic fracturing and it is the very pass For a clean energy future above the Marcellus stone Plus we'll give you lots of money and a new mobile phone I said you are a corporate crook, I don't believe the things you tell And you can drive right of my property and then go straight to hell No fracking way! (2x) I don't trust corporate salesmen, whatever they may say No fracking way! (3x) My neighbor was out of work and things were looking grim So when the fracking guy came knocking he had better luck with him The company said don't worry, everything will be just fine So just sign your name right here, sir, on this dotted line Pretty soon the water was tasting pretty dire One day I lit a match and the water caught on fire I thought about a lawsuit, then stumbled upon the fact That fracking is exempted from the Clean Water Act ...Is that how democracy works here in the USA As if the situation weren't sufficiently unattractive We tested the water and found it was radioactive Now my property is worthless and there's a tumor in my brain Half of my neighbors are sick, the rest are just in pain Maybe I should take the money, move off to live somewhere But all the places I look at, they're fracking there Our choices now are simple, lose that which we hold dear Or communicate the message in a way that's unstoppably clear ...Tell these frackers to frack off, both tomorrow and today

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Why we still need the Man in Black (Man In Black - Johnny Cash)

The incident yesterday with Ed Miliband, some eggs and a disgruntled voter has sparked a flurry of articles about how Labour has failed to represent the interests of the regular man and woman in the street. It does concern me that the down-trodden, the poor and the needy don’t always see the Labour and Co-operative movement as being representative of their needs. It saddens me that a truck driver sees the Conservative Party as being the facilitator of his personal wealth (a vaguely remembered interview on Radio5Live where he said that he voted Tory because he hoped one day to be wealthy). Unfortunately the Labour Party appears unable to shake off the stereotype that it is a Party of high taxation.

Labour is seen by some as being the party of state interference and totalitarianism. Such hyperbole is seen everyday on the comment sections of numerous websites. On these forums vitriol pours back and forth from both sides of the political divide, most of which is based much more on prejudice than evidence. (A lot of comments also state the view that ‘the Left’ are an arrogant, pompous bunch, who fail to comprehend why they are misunderstood.) Where evidence is presented, by either side, it can be contradicted by other evidence to support whichever viewpoint you choose to inhabit. Political persuasion therefore often boils down to instinct; and generally to your view on big or small government. The irony of this is that the small government mantra of the conservatives is contradicted by the intensive centralization of public sector management starting in the 1980s with the appropriation of municipal powers by Whitehall and continued in the present decade by the acceleration of the academy programme in schools. The view of people that favour small government often seems to be based on the premise that excessive interference by government is preventing them maximizing their personal wealth creation. This is characteristically twinned with the view that taxation is equivalent to “the state” stealing their money. This view ignores the positive impact that the state has on enabling this person to earn a living.

I have borrowed the following statement from a comment forum on the following very interesting article; how-america-spends-money-100-years-in-the-life-of-the-family-budget. I think it sums up the situation very neatly.
“There are things that we've agreed (collectively) are important. Roads, schools, military, police, etc. There is no market incentive to provide these services. Thus if we want them (and we do), there needs to be a non-profit motivated entity to provide them...aka the government. How would this entity be funded? It certainly can't be voluntary, since we can all come up with a reason why we (personally) are more important than us (collectively). As an individual, you might disagree with certain things...for example I think we spend too much money on military adventurism, and you clearly think we spend too much money on everything (though I'll bet there are some things you're pretty happy the government provides). But as a group, we've set some priorities. There is a process to realign those priorities called elections. Some things don't make sense out of context. Environmental regulations for example. Its more profitable to dump your waste on the group than treating it right? But we've (collectively) decided that having clean drinking water is valuable, so we set (very weak) rules on how much waste and where it can be dumped to avoid pollution of water. Unless you are personally profiting from this waste dumping, you should be in favor of this..because the alternative is that you pay for the cleanup/disposal (maybe with cash, maybe with poor health outcomes, maybe with more expensive drinking water). Without the context of the cost (that is the polluted water or whatnot), its hard to see why the regulation makes sense. There is also a ton of money spend on "helping" you think that this sort of regulation hurts businesses. In a sense it does, they lose some profits due to responsible habits. But their loss is your gain. The biggest problem with our system is that we've allowed to relatively similar groups (the Ds and Rs are much closer in thinking than all the partisan rhetoric would imply) to have total control for an extended period. That means that the small group of corruptible political elites have set up rules that benefit themselves and their supporters."

There is some historical truth in the notion that Labour is a party of large state; not least the nationalization of industry in the mid-twentieth century. But Labour was also the party that led Welsh and Scottish devolution, devolution to London assembly and Mayor of London and attempted to introduce regional assemblies in parts of England. I get the impression that many in the Labour and Co-operative movement now strongly believe that the future of a more equitable society is predicated on stronger local governance and local accountability. For this reason the Localism Act and the city deals that the coalition government has introduced should be, tentatively, welcomed. However without increased funding, increased power means very little. Local authorities now, rightly, have responsibility for coordinating public health provision in their region. But they have to take on this extra responsibility with no additional funding.

But lets face it these macro-political schemes actually have very little impact on the day-to-day life of many ordinary people. These schemes of varying complexity and success may lead to some future prosperity and may guarantee future jobs, but the majority of individuals will still have very little influence on their future. People will still be bound to the will and caprice of employers, who are increasingly corporate and therefore removed from personal interaction. The majority of people will still subsist on wages that represent a small proportion of the value that their employment creates and the cost of living will continue to rise as the banks and other vested interests maintain the high cost of housing. I think that all political parties have done the people a disservice by pretending that ‘we are all middle-class now’. Yes disposable incomes are higher; yes more people now work in offices rather than in manual occupations; yet the availability of credit and the cultural incitement to home and car ownership means that just as many people are now wage-slaves, dependant on employment to pay for their ‘standard of living’, as they ever have been.

"Man In Black"

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
 Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I  wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The International Labour Organisation offers Ed the policies for jobs and growth

“Women and men without jobs or livelihoods really don’t care if their economies grow at 3, 5 or 10 per cent a year, if such growth leaves them behind and without protection. They do care whether their leaders and their societies promote policies to provide jobs and justice, bread and dignity, and freedom to voice their needs, their hopes and their dreams” -Juan Somavia

Juan Somavia was the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) until 2012. The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.
From the 5th to the 20th of June 2013 the ILO are holding the 102nd International Labour Conference in Geneva. On the agenda are several themes that have been prevalent in the UK media recently and have relevance to the lives of the UK population. These are;
  1. Sustainable development, decent work and green jobs
  2. Employment and social protection in the new demographic context
  3. Social Dialogue
OK so they don’t sound relevant in the bureaucratese in which they are written, however these issues could all have a profound impact on our quality of life. I shall attempt to decipher them for you.
The first of these deals with the two most significant challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century; achieving environmental sustainability and ensuring decent work for all. The ILO report on this topic states that “The shift to a sustainable, greener economy offers major opportunities for social development: (1) the creation of more jobs; (2) improvement in the quality of large numbers of jobs; and (3) social inclusion on a massive scale.”
The report goes onto to say that “an assessment of a broad range of green jobs in the United States, for example, concluded that they compare favourably with non-green jobs in similar sectors in terms of skill levels and wages. Research in China, Germany and Spain has also found the quality of new renewable energy jobs to be good.”
Major investment both in terms of policy and money will therefore only reap rewards; if we are to gain the most from this opportunity then we can’t simply play at building wind-farms.
Long-term policy commitments must be made to ensure that private investment is forthcoming, something not helped by last week’s UK parliamentary vote against a clean power target, which will also affect the motor manufacturing industry.
The demographic context to which the second item refers is the “inevitable and irreversible trend of ‘population ageing’”.
By 2050 there will be an extra 2 billion people globally, but as the birth-rate stabilises and people live longer the number of people over 60 will triple. This change in the ratio of working-age and retired people could result in shortages in labour supply and skills as people retire.
This could result in loss of productivity and innovation and will certainly affect how national governments make provision for social security services.
A report on this by ILO emphasises the importance of having active labour market policies and recognise that “social security systems work best when they are well integrated and co-ordinated with wider social, economic and employment policies”.
A key element of this is getting the young into employment. This is important because not only will the young have to pay tax in the future to support the increasingly aged population but also to ensure intergenerational social cohesion.

Social dialogue is defined in the ILO report as “the term that describes the involvement of workers, employers and governments in decision-making on employment and workplace issues. It includes all types of negotiation, consultation and exchange of information among representatives of these groups on common interests in economic, labour and social policy.”

This is important both in giving people a voice and role to play in shaping their workplaces and by extension wider society but also as a means of achieving social and economic progress. Social dialogue has taken an important role in shaping the workplaces of the UK over the last few decades but the new century has brought new challenges.
Collective bargaining power is now weaker as a result of increased competition from new global markets, increased unemployment and a decline in the proportion of GDP arising from labour intensive industry.
This, combined with a decline in unionisation an increased income inequality, means that new methods of achieving social dialogue must be found. The fact that the unions remain strong in the public sector but are weak in SMEs where the majority of people work results in many people having a negative view of their potential to enable change in the workplace. More must be done to make social dialogue more inclusive.
In addition to these agenda items the ILO has produced several documents that explore how these topics are inter-related and propose policies that would both improve social justice and achieve financial equilibrium for nation-states.
In the World of Work Report 2013 the ILO present the case for a more job-friendly approach to macroeconomic policy.
The report argues that “well-designed and coordinated macroeconomic, employment and social policies can have mutually reinforcing effects.” Both Argentina (in 2001-2002) and Sweden (in 1990s) successfully pursued policies that focused on job protection and creation rather than on fiscal consolidation.
In Sweden in particular this was achieved by the development of a package of labour market policies designed with the specific intention of reducing the risk of long-term unemployment. The flagship policy of this package was a youth employment guarantee.
There are several policy proposals that the World of Work Report present and provides evidence for their beneficial impact on increasing employment and stabilizing the economy. These are;
  1. Public investment for innovation
  2. Investment in and extension of credit to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs):
    1. supporting the creation and development of credit mediators to reassess SMEs’ credit requests that have been rejected by banks;
    2. introducing credit guarantees for viable SMEs, in which a percentage of the loan is backed by government support; and
    3. directly earmarking a portion of bank recapitalization funds for the provision of SME credit
  3. Avoiding wage stagnation or deflation traps: A significant proportion of GDP is in domestic consumption, particularly in larger or more developed economies. Therefore attention to employment, wages and other sources of household income is a critical part of a sound macroeconomic policy mix.
Resilience in a Downturn: The power of financial cooperatives is a report that discusses the historical, statistical, conceptual, and policy aspects of financial cooperatives. With particular reference to how cooperatives fare in times of crisis.
The report shows that financial cooperatives have continued to provide banking services to people on low incomes, to stabilize the banking system, to regenerate local economies and, indirectly, to create employment.
The report explains that cooperatives are able to do this because of their unique combination of member ownership, control and benefit. It concludes with a set of policy recommendations for governments, development agencies and other policy-makers, for instance using cooperatives not as “conduits” but as partners in the wider aims of business development, insurance against episodic poverty and decent work.
Ed Miliband has recently given a speech outlining his direction for the Labour party over the next few years. In summary he said that “We all know Labour in 2015 will have less money to spend, because the Tories have failed on the economy. So we are going to take action on the big problems our country faces to control spending:
  • Cut costs by helping the long-term unemployed back to work
  • Make sure jobs are well-paid to reward work, so the state does not face rising subsidies for low pay
  • Get the cost of renting down by ensuring more homes are built – thereby reducing the welfare bill
  • Cap social security spending by focusing on the deep-rooted reasons benefit spending goes up.”
Conservative MPs have predictably derided this speech; however it is a welcome intervention from Ed Miliband and should be welcomed by all who would rather see a Labour led government.
The findings of these ILO reports all generally agree with the view of most Labour supporters and Tory critics that jobs must come before growth and not the other way around. Conservative opinion seems generally to be that only by reducing national expenditure can we afford to invest in education and provide social security. As numerous economic experts have commented however, fiscal consolidation reduces domestic consumption, which reduces GDP.
The major role that governments can take in this approach is in forming policy that encourages private investment. For example long-term clean energy policy that drives investment in manufacturing and development; macroeconomic policy that facilitates lending to SMEs and incentives for youth employment and a housing policy based on using financial co-operatives to invest pension funds in the development of new residential and commercial units for long-term tenancies.

This article first appeared on Labour uncut.

Working Mans Blues - Bob Dylan

This week I had another article up on Labour-Uncut; the theme of this is creating new jobs and ensuring that people are fairly paid for the work that they do. Sustainability is at the core of this; and by this I don't just mean environmentally friendly, although that is part of it, but ensuring that the younger generation have gainful employment so that they can provide for themselves and the ageing population.

The article is predicated on the International Labour Organisation's conference, which ends tomorrow (20th June) in Geneva. Three of the discussion topics at the conference are
  1. Sustainable development, decent work and green jobs
  2. Employment and social protection in the new demographic context
  3. Social Dialogue
The fundamental premise of all three is that by global co-operation we can help each other to face the challenges of the coming century. Workers representation and communication between governments, employers and employees is the glue that should enable sustainable development to provide a future for all.

Bob Dylan's great modern anthem - Working Mans Blues - is a song full of emotion that holds a mirror up to contemporary America and challenges governments and voters to confront the socio-economic problems that cause misery and despair for millions.

Workingman's Blues #2 by Bob Dylan

There's an evenin' haze settlin' over the town
Starlight by the edge of the creek
The buyin' power of the proletariat's gone down
Money's gettin' shallow and weak
The place I love best is a sweet memory
It's a new path that we trod
They say low wages are a reality
If we want to compete abroad

My cruel weapons have been put on the shelf
Come sit down on my knee
You are dearer to me than myself
As you yourself can see
I'm listenin' to the steel rails hum
Got both eyes tight shut
Just sitting here trying to keep the hunger from
Creeping it's way into my gut

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

Now, I'm sailin' on back, ready for the long haul
Tossed by the winds and the seas
I'll drag ‘em all down to hell and I'll stand ‘em at the wall
I'll sell ‘em to their enemies
I'm tryin' to feed my soul with thought
Gonna sleep off the rest of the day
Sometimes no one wants what we got
Sometimes you can't give it away

Now the place is ringed with countless foes
Some of them may be deaf and dumb
No man, no woman knows
The hour that sorrow will come
In the dark I hear the night birds call
I can hear a lover's breath
I sleep in the kitchen with my feet in the hall
Sleep is like a temporary death

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

Well, they burned my barn, they stole my horse
I can't save a dime
I got to be careful, I don't want to be forced
Into a life of continual crime
I can see for myself that the sun is sinking
How I wish you were here to see
Tell me now, am I wrong in thinking
That you have forgotten me?
Now they worry and they hurry and they fuss and they fret

They waste your nights and days
Them I will forget
But you I'll remember always
Old memories of you to me have clung
You've wounded me with words
Gonna have to straighten out your tongue
It's all true, everything you have heard

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

In you, my friend, I find no blame
Wanna look in my eyes, please do
No one can ever claim
That I took up arms against you
All across the peaceful sacred fields
They will lay you low
They'll break your horns and slash you with steel
I say it so it must be so

Now I'm down on my luck and I'm black and blue
Gonna give you another chance
I'm all alone and I'm expecting you
To lead me off in a cheerful dance
Got a brand new suit and a brand new wife
I can live on rice and beans
Some people never worked a day in their life
Don't know what work even means

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

"Stand up take to the streets, they can't ignore us if we all choose to speak"

Neil Lawson had an article up on the Guardian and Compass Online yesterday talking about single issue campaign organisations and their effect on mainstream politics. The gist of the article is that campaigners such as the Occupy Movement and UK Uncut have been effective at drawing media attention to issues such as corporate tax avoidance and political action has followed as a result
But these are mostly single issues, and the multiple crises we face demand joined-up answers. The political parties we can't live with, we also can't live without. The urgent task at hand is to construct a politics that not only joins the concerns of all of us who seek a much more equal, sustainable and democratic world – a good society – but which finds a way of linking formal and informal politics…So the challenge to the parties is to democratise internally and practise pluralism externally. The challenge to the movements is to shift beyond single issues and join forces to tackle the root causes of markets that are too free or too powerful, and states that are too remote or too intrusive.”

Neil Lawson is the Director of pressure group Compass and as such has a strong affiliation with Labour and the Co-operative Movement. I happen to agree with him that the Labour Party must be in the vanguard of a new movement for democratic change; for it is only through the democratic system that we can achieve meaningful and permanent change.

Ernest Bevin said that ‘We must not confuse democracy with the maintenance of a particular form of economic or financial system…rather it is a condition which allows for change in the system itself.

Change in the system itself is what we need. Lucy Ward’s recent single “For the Dead Man” serves as a poignant reminder of what is going wrong and what we can do to change it.

Those who run our countries they will never see
Cause they’ve never had to make the choice to bite the hand that feeds
There are thousand of people who were left to fall between
The cracks in our culture that were torn apart by greed

Lucy calls on the people to “Stand up and take to the streets, they can’t ignore us if we all choose to speak”. The phrasing of this is spot on; if we choose to speak then other voters and politicians will listen.

Apathy is the enemy of change. If we want a better life for ourselves and our children then we must stand up and be counted.

Lucy Ward sings "For the Dead Men"

"someone asked me at my gig on monday why I wrote this song and why ‘dead men’; it was quite a big question and I think I could of rambled on about it for yonks (you know how I like to talk :p ).  Well I have been thinking about it more since that question and thought that for this weeks post I would have a little muse about what inspired it, how I wrote it and how I feel about it now.
Why did I write it?
I wrote it out of desperation! I guess it was a reaction to what is going on in the world, catalysed by watching the marches, riots and revolutions unfold on my tv screen. I am a total pacifist, and a veggie one at that so please know that I would never condone any violence, but there was something about watching  those who were making their voices heard (in a peaceful way) that just…i dunno…spoke to me.

 Why dead men?
It started out as a reference to those who have marched before us, but as the song has developed I feel it has become more than that. I really think it refers to us all, ‘the dead men’ are those of us sticking our heads in the sand, ignorant to what is happening and our power to affect it. It’s apathy. It is also all those on the thin edge of the wedge who have been left deal with the true fall out of the cuts and reforms… while the rest of us (including myself) sit in our warm, paid up homes thinking about cutting down our broadband package.
The response that this song has had so far has been quite overwhelming with lots of you guys sharing it online, it has been knocked around ‘occupies’ all over the world since I recorded it, Mike Harding has shared it, it’s beginning to get airplay and today with Billy Bragg sharing it with his 90,000 + fans on facebook it really feels like something important is happening. It’s just great to know that there are people out there who feel the same.
please continue to share this should you feel so inclined.

 Just for your info, this single is my first new release since my album last year. It is available on itunes and amazon as a download and if you would like a physical copy then they are only available from me, (just £3 + £1 for postage and packaging)…just drop me an email on and I’ll get back to you asap :)   " 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Chris Wood - None the Wiser

Chris Wood's song None the Wiser is an extremely thoughful and thought provoking song and is part of a tremendous album of the same name.  
"The argos catalogue is our tormentor" ...
"I just had my montly meet with the job club supervisor, I was none the wiser"...
"while in the five star saunas of the hotel trip advisor, its just business, business, business, its always none the wiser"
and my favourite
"in the bowels of the Bank of England they are sacrificing chickens to a god they call 'quantitative easing' "

In March 2013 Chris Wood said this about the making of his latest album "While this musical journey was going on, Britain was sinking deeper into recession. From radio and television studios our political and fiscal masters were insisting we should continue to listen to them, to take seriously their initiatives and their projections while out in the streets our personal experience was, and remains, in gritty contradiction to their rhetoric.

I believe we are on our own. I believe all we really have is ourselves and what we make, and, the most precious of what we make lies in our connection to each other. They have not found a way of taxing what flows between us and our loved ones." -
Gritty, acerbic and at times grumpy the whole album is a triumph.
I bought my copy from Bandcamp where you can directly support your favourite the songwriters making new music.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Springhill Mine Disaster - Peggy Seeger - performed by Martin Carthy

I couldn't mention mining without this tremendous song by Peggy Seeger. This version is by Martin Carthy and the video contains pictures from Springhill. The mood and lyrics of the song capture perfectly the horror and sacrifice that miners face to bring home a wage to support their family.Blood and bone truly is the price of coal.


In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
Down in the dark of the Cumberland Mine
there's blood on the coal and the miners lie
In the roads that never saw sun nor sky (2x)

In the town of Springhill, you don't sleep easy
Often the earth will tremble and roll
When the earth is restless, miners die
Bone and blood is the price of coal

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
Late in the year of fifty-eight
Day still comes and the sun still shines
But it's dark as the grave in the Cumberland mine

Down at the coal face, miners working
Rattle of the belt and the cutter's blade
Rumble of the rock and the walls closed round
The living and the dead men two miles down

Twelve men lay two miles from the pitshaft
Twelve men lay in the dark and sang
Long hot days in the miners tomb
It was three feet high and a hundred long

Three days past and the lamps gave out
Our foreman rose on his elbow and said
We're out of light and water and bread
So we'll live on song and hope instead

Listen for the shouts of the barefaced miners
Listen thru the rubble for a rescue team
Six hundred feet of coal and slag
Hope imprisoned in a three foot seam

Eight days passes and some were rescued
Leaving the dead to lie alone
Thru all their lives they dug their grave
Two miles of earth for a marking stone

In the town of Springhill, you don't sleep easy
Often the earth will tremble and roll
When the earth is restless, miners die
Bone and blood is the price of coal

Copyright Sing Out
by Peggy Seeger,

Coalminers - Uncle Tupelo

Coalminers, by Uncle Tupelo, is just a great earthy song written about the plight of coalminers in the last century. Conditions have generally improved but it still acounts for 8% of industrial fatalities across the world; which is a huge figure when you consider that only 1% of the global workforce are employed in mines. Many of the deaths occur in China and Russia and although nominally blamed on a failure to follow safety procedures could be a result of economic pressure to produce more for less.

Coalminers  by Uncle Tupelo

come, all you coalminers
wherever you may be
and listen to the story
that I relate to thee
my name is nothing extra
but the truth to you I tell
I am a coalminer
and I'm sure I wish you well

I was born in old Kentucky
in a coal camp, born and bred
I know about old beans
bulldog gravy and cornbread
I know how the miners work and slave
in the coalmines every day
for a dollar in the company store
for that is all they pay

mining is the most dangerous work
in our land today
plenty of dirty, slaving work
for very little pay
coalminers, won't you wake up
and open your eyes and see
what this dirty capitalist system
has done to you and me

dear miners, they will slave you
until you can't work no more
and what will you get for your laborbut a dollar in the company store
a tumbledown shack to live in
snow and rain pouring through the topand you have to pay the company rentand your payments will never stop

they take our very lifeblood
they take our children's lives
take fathers away from children
take husbands away from wivescoalminers, won't you organize
wherever you may be
and make this a land of freedom
for workers, like you and me

I am a coalminer
and I'm sure I wish you well
let's sink this capitalist system
to the darkest pits of hell

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The International Labour Organisation (inc. The Workers Song - Ed Pickford)

'Women and men without jobs or livelihoods really don’t care if their economies grow at 3, 5 or 10 per cent a year, if such growth leaves them behind and without protection. They do care whether their leaders and their societies promote policies to provide jobs and justice, bread and dignity, and freedom to voice their needs, their hopes and their dreams...' -Juan Somavia

Juan Somavia is the former Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.

Today is the first day of the 102nd International Labour Conference. The theme of the conference is on securing a stable and sustainable future for working peoples throughout the world. Agenda items for discussion are;
  1. Sustainable development, decent work and green jobs
  2. Employment and social protection in the new demographic context
These are important topics and important both in our own lives and in the working lives of our children and grandchildren.

In April of this year the ILO published a new report entitled "Resilience in a Downturn: The power of financial cooperatives". This document addresses the historical, statistical, conceptual, and policy aspects of financial cooperatives, focusing in particular on how cooperatives fare in times of crisis. Importantly, it underscores that cooperatives’ success during the global financial crisis can provide a credible alternative to the investment-owned banking system.

In analysing their performance in the crisis, the report shows that financial cooperatives have continued to provide banking services to people on low incomes, to stabilize the banking system, to regenerate local economies and, indirectly, to create employment. The report explains that cooperatives are able to do this because of their unique combination of member ownership, control and benefit. It concludes with a set of policy recommendations for governments, development agencies and other policy-makers, for instance using cooperatives not as “conduits” but as partners in the wider aims of business development, insurance against episodic poverty and decent work.

Evidence, if it were needed, that we achieve more when we work together.

The Workers' Song

Words & Music : Ed Pickford
Lyric as sung by Dick Gaughan

Come all of you workers who toil night and day
By hand and by brain to earn your pay
Who for centuries long past for no more than your bread
Have bled for your countries and counted your dead

In the factories and mills, in the shipyards and mines
We've often been told to keep up with the times
For our skills are not needed, they've streamlined the job
And with sliderule and stopwatch our pride they have robbed

But when the sky darkens and the prospect is war
Who's given a gun and then pushed to the fore
And expected to die for the land of our birth
When we've never owned one handful of earth?

We're the first ones to starve the first ones to die
The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
And always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat's about

All of these things the worker has done
From tilling the fields to carrying the gun
We've been yoked to the plough since time first began
And always expected to carry the can

Friday, 3 May 2013

Oh, Had I a Golden Thread - Pete Seeger

Happy Birthday to Pete Seeger; an inspiration to generations of optimists. Thanks for the music.

Oh, had I a golden Thread
And needle so fine
I've weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design.

In it I'd weave the bravery
Of women giving birth,
In it I would weave the innocence
Of children over all the earth,
Children of all earth.

Far over the waters
I'd reach my magic band
Through foreign cities,
To every single land,
To every land.

Show my brothers and sisters
My rainbow design,
Bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind,
Hand and heart and mind.

Far over the waters
I'd reach my magic band
To every human being
So they would understand,
So they'd understand.

Words and music by Pete Seeger (1958)
(c) 1959 by Stormking Music Inc.

Ideology, Tolstoy and Billy Bragg.

They were moved by fear or vanity, they rejoiced or were indignant, they argued and supposed that they knew what they were doing and did it of their own free will, whereas they were the involuntary tools of history, working out a process concealed to them but intelligible to us. Such is the inevitable lot of men of action, and the higher they stand in the social hierarchy the less free they are.” (Tolstoy, L. War and Peace, Penguin Classics, pp811).

Tolstoy’s description of the Russian and French Generals in 1812 could just as easily be used to depict many political events over the last 3 centuries. Following the Russian victory the claims by the Generals that they had lured Napoleon into Russia in order that his armies would perish in the harsh winter took precedence over historical fact (they had tried at every opportunity to prevent Napoleon entering Russian territory; it was Napoleons hubris that led him deeper into Russia where his superior army was defeated by cold). Almost two centuries later Reaganomics ‘rescued’ the US economy from high inflation and interest rates and secured economic prosperity.
Reagan came to power promising to reduce the burden of government on the people of America "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." Reagan embraced the theory of "supply side economics," which postulated that tax cuts encouraged economic expansion which in turn increased the government's revenue at a lower tax rate. He was also an advocate of reducing restrictions on business and increasing defense spending.
Reagan ended power with the USA in its 6th year of economic prosperity. The economic gains, however, came at a cost of a record annual deficit and a ballooning national debt. The budget deficit was exacerbated by a trade deficit. Americans continued to buy more foreign-made goods than they were selling. Reagan, however adhered to his free trade stance, and signed an agreement to that effect with Canada. He also signed, reluctantly, trade legislation designed to open foreign markets to U.S. goods.
After he had left office Reagan reflected on his time as president saying "I believe the same things I believed when I came to Washington, and I think those beliefs have been vindicated by the success of the policies to which we hold fast."
The belief in free trade that meant that the US economy is now dependant on imports from China; the belief in low taxes that led to fiscal deficits and national debt; the belief in small government that led to massive expansion of military power; the belief in democracy and freedom that was expressed in support for pro-US dictators and the imposition of proxy governments in Haiti, the Philippines and across the Middle-East.
Economic prosperity occurred in the USA during the 1980s in spite of Reagan, not because of him. Furthermore this prosperity was not shared by all. 30% of the black population lived below the poverty line; a situation that has given rise to further social problems.

Ideology is a dangerous thing, especially when you don’t or can’t understand the ramifications of all that you do in the name of it. Reagan believed that his economic policy saved the USA. It may have contributed to the rich getting richer but the nation grew poorer (OK GDP grew, but not as fast as the national debt and wages of regular people stagnated). Similarly IDS believes that by cutting welfare people will be driven back into work. Osborne believes that he can reduce taxes, reduce the fiscal deficit and increase standards in healthcare and education.
I can’t agree with Tolstoy when he speaks about an inevitable course of history (a process dictated by whom?). However I do concur that the higher up the social hierarchy an individual is, the more likely they are to be bound by social convention to maintain the status quo. If we all work together to build the foundations of a better future for our children; if we seek to further the interests of the common man (and woman) then surely we can succeed where vested interests fail? The careerist politicians do not hold all the answers; they all too often are blinded by their ideology; taking historical fact and molding it to meet their own interests and needs. People need to stake their claim in their own governance. Or the rich will carry on getting richer and the rest of us will return to serfdom.


When one voice rules the nation
Just because they're top of the pile
Doesn't mean their vision is the clearest
The voices of the people
Are falling on deaf ears
Our politicians all become careerists

They must declare their interests
But not their company cars
Is there more to a seat in parliament
Than sitting on your arse
And the best of all this bad bunch
Is shouting to be heard
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Outside the patient millions
Who put them into power
Expect a little more back for their taxes
Like school books, beds in hospitals
And peace in our bloody time
All they get is old men grinding axes

Who've built their private fortunes
On the things they can rely
The courts, the secret handshake
The Stock Exchange and the old school tie
For God and Queen and Country
All things they justify
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

God bless the civil service
The nations saving grace
While we expect democracy
They're laughing in our face
And although our cries get louder
The laughter gets louder still
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Above the sound of ideologies,
Above the sound of ideologies,
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Do the Chimes of Freedom flash for the refugees of Syria?

 The Civil War in Syria is more than a proxy-conflict between acolytes of Russia, China and the USA. It is a story of human suffering beyond imagination;
“Look. This. My son has shrapnel in his face, he can’t breathe through his nose and he cannot hear any more. He needs an operation. But we are living this nightmare. Help us. For God’s sake please help us.” (World Vision blog)

The Zataari camp on the Jordanian border is struggling with the humanitarian response required to care for the number of the refugees. There are officially 160,000 people living here making it the largest refugee camp in the world and the fifth biggest city in Jordan. 

This camp is located in a desert; consequently there are huge difficulties in supplying water and hygienic toilet facilities. The standard ratio for lavatories in a humanitarian crisis camp is 1:20. The current ratio for lavatories in Zataari is 1:100. This is not just a question of comfort; water-borne disease is the single biggest threat to life in these situations.

The humanitarian response has even more difficulties within the Syrian borders; neither the government nor the rebels recognise the role of an independent charity offering aid.
“Because it’s a polarised crisis, everyone considers that if you are not with them you are against them. So everybody might consider you their enemy if they have that in mind.” (Syrian Red Crescent)

The politics of the Syrian crisis are every bit as complicated as the humanitarian challenge. The UN is a political organisation as well as a humanitarian one; as a consequence the aid response is hampered by the paralysis of the Security Council.

“With new refugee arrivals outpacing the capacity of the United Nations to receive and register them, a vulnerable family can wait three months before they start getting official help.” CAFOD blog

The people suffering in this region are the victims of a bloody war between rival political factions. They are ordinary human beings in need of help; they are teachers, accountants, shopkeepers and cleaners. They are mothers, fathers and children fleeing from violence and death towards hunger and misery.

3 million Syrian people have fled their homes. They need food, shelter & medical care. Text DEC to 70000 to donate £5 or DONATE via

Chimes of Freedom (Bob Dylan)
Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
In the city’s melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden while the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin’ rain
Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an’ forsaked
Tolling for the outcast, burnin’ constantly at stake
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An’ the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for-granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an’ blind, tolling for the mute
Tolling for the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an’ cheated by pursuit
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Even though a cloud’s white curtain in a far-off corner flashed
An’ the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An’ for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Starry-eyed an’ laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time an’ we watched with one last look
Spellbound an’ swallowed ’til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an’ worse
An’ for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Copyright © 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1992 by Special Rider Music

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Reckoning - sustainable development for inclusive growth

So hooray Osbornomics is working; we have an incredible growth in GDP of 0.3%. Lets all celebrate. The sad truth of this fact is that it will be taken as evidence of fiscal policy being effective in assuring the future of our nation’s economy.

Unfortunately no fiscal policy can be truly effective until politicians confront the reality that we have fundamental structural problems with the way our economy works. Too much emphasis has been placed on the debt to income ratio of the government and consequently the underlying problems are not even debated, let alone resolved.

If we are to truly improve our faltering economy then we need to democratize the market economy and organize socially inclusive growth.

The USA, the UK and other developed nations have encouraged a mass market economy based on mass consumption. When this mass market economy first arose, during the Bretton Woods era, mass consumption was fueled through the popularization of purchasing power. This occurred initially through a progressive redistribution of wealth and income. Following this initial bout of progressive redistribution in the aftermath of the Second World War there then came several decades of regressive distribution.

The developed world prolonged the mass consumption market economy by permitting a massive rise in household debt. This debt has accrued mainly through a massive overvaluation of housing stock. “A fake credit democracy has come to stand in the place of a property owning democracy”.  Roberto Unger

This situation cannot be resolved by fiscal stimulus alone or even by robust regulation of finance. History tells us that economic depression is resolved only by an expansion of industry; by an increase in production. 

The most significant step that any government can take is therefore to resolve the flawed relationship between finance and production. The retained wealth in the stock markets and in transnational corporations is, in theory, used to finance production. In actuality very little of financial activity relates to production. Consequently rather than acting as a motor to power production, finance is more like the wind, variable and erratic. At one time the wind was integral to world trade, the power behind the fleets of the world. Now the wind is largely incidental, mechanized transport has superseded sail and shrunk the world. However when the weather turns stormy the power of the wind poses a very real danger to the stability of vessels on which we depend. If the ship is blown over then the cargo is lost and the safety of the people who work on the ship is also in peril.

The disjoint between finance and the productive economy has been allowed to persist because of the massive structural imbalance between developed and emerging economies. Nations such as China and India are awash with commercial and capital surpluses and nations such as the USA and the UK are living off foreign money. 
This financial paradox has exempted these societies from the need to face their own problems. As a consequence China has failed to develop a deep internal market on the basis of redistribution and the USA and UK have failed to develop the inclusive strategy for growth that they need.

Periods of sustained economic development almost always occur at times of industrial development. Hitherto this economic development has, with one notable exception, resulted in a regressive distribution of wealth. If our economy is to continue to provide sustenance to human endeavor then the 21st century Captains of Industry must not only harness the force of the wind to propel innovation but must also facilitate social change.

Structural reforms that promote social growth alongside economic growth are vital to facilitate sustained and sustainable development. The world we live in is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous and as such we need robustness embedded into everyday life. Strong foundations to resist the storms that threaten to blow us over.

Sustainable development has been defined various ways; one of the best and best known was in the Brundtland Report.
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
·         the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
·         the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."
Unilever, Nike and other global names are recognizing the importance of inclusive growth. Even Primark are recognizing that they have a responsibility for the people who produce their cheap clothing ranges. It is not enough for governments simply to attend summits and set targets; they need to actively lead the creation of a new market economy that puts the interests of people, their children and their grand-children first.

 Unless we adopt a model of socially inclusive growth then we cannot hope to leave a better world for our children's children.

The Reckoning - Steve Tilston

Here’s to all the grand children,
Yet to be born great grand children.
All your sons and daughters,
And your own grand children too.

I offer you my hand.
Out across the age’s span.
A misbegotten plan
To leave the reckoning to you

I must apologise,
if it’s written in the troubled skies.
We’ve been peddling lies,
Somehow forgotten what is true.

Though it’s buried deep.
Poison never sleeps.
Through the ages seeps,
To leave a reckoning for you.

We hang on to misguided dreams,
sleepwalk to the brink.
Hey ho, rue the day.
We’re going down in drink.

I have planted seed.
In vain to raise an apple tree.
To entice the bees
to sip the blossom on the bough.

But the bees don’t toil.
Around the tree a serpent coils,
Spits venom in the soil,
And leaves the reckoning to you

I raise to you a toast.
Should trouble come to roost.
For we ate the golden goose,
And left the reckoning to you.