Politics and Protest

War Poetry: Challenging the Nationalist Narrative

From its declaration of war in 1914, Britain’s ruling class appealed to patriotism to boost its support and its military recruitment. By 1916 both were flagging. On the pages of socialist newspaper The Herald, poets used verse to question both nationalism and the war’s aims. When the government asked men to fight for King and Country, was it shielding its true motives?

Queen Vic (Let's Do It)

Today is Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday, and the media is awash with fawning coverage. Yesterday, queen of entertainment Victoria Wood died. This is a respectful reworking of Victoria Wood's classic Ballad of Freda and Barry (Let's Do It).

Freda and Barry sat one day
Debating the issues that came their way
Freda thinks equality's the way ahead
But Barry likes Harry and so he said ...

Man in the Border Post

With a nod to The Jam's 'Man in the Corner Shop' ...

Turns the closed sign does the man in the border post
Rejects his last and says goodbye to her
He knows it is a hard life
But he has to follow orders really

Walks back to camp does the last applicant
She's not angry with the man in the border post
She is sick of struggling so hard
She says it must be nice to have a home to go to

Wondering Eyes

When places of worship
​          become places of wonder
Bright-eyed guides
          will tell wide-eyed visitors
You won't believe
          what people used to believe
And then, with downcast eyes
          they will add
And you'll never believe
          what some of them did
          in the name of what they believed

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