The society we live in did not come about by chance; it was fought for every inch of the way by people with vision and aspiration. The peasants and serfs were kept in poverty but they were not stupid. The robber barons stole the land from under their feet and they were powerless. The wealthy businessmen stole their products through guile. The State enacted laws to protect the establishment and keep the poor in their place.
With the coming of the industrial revolution ordinary people were kept down. They were paid a pittance in order to keep the profits high. The bosses creamed off huge wealth while the workers slaved. The owners and aristocrats lived in mansions and palaces with servants while the producers of the wealth lived in poverty and working conditions that were scandalous.
Gradually the ordinary people fought for representation, fair reward for labour given and justice. Ever so gradually the work conditions improved and the wages rose. Each step on the way was met with bleating and violence. The establishment was loath to give up its luxury; they feared the result of suffrage for ordinary people. They believed we might change the laws to create fairness.
They give us as little as they think they can buy us off with. Only through the unions was a living wage grudgingly conceded. Their fear is revolution.
This society we live in is the result of struggle. The freedoms we have are tenuous. The establishment claw back all they can. The wealth still sticks with the elite. The trickle down is as meagre as required to keep us docile. Zero hours contracts, austerity, unemployment and pay freezes are deployed while the rich get richer. We are all in it together is a lie. Information is biased and distorted – the Daily Mail and the rest of the press, even the BBC are all part of an establishment. He who tells the story controls the minds. The media moguls have a vested interest.
Democracy is a fragile thing and bought with blood – lots of blood.
This is my culture – the wisdom of my ways.
Suppression and oppression – the order of past days.
Freed into the sunlight – on a democratic wave.
Released from penury – and the status of a slave.
The blood of my forebears sinks heavy in this soil
They paid dear for a share of the profits from their toil.
They fought for their rights and freedoms against a selfish few
Who garnered all the wealth away and propped up many a pew.
This is my culture – the result of battles fought.
Standing up for rights – against a great onslaught.
Liberty and equality – to stand tall and not in fear.
Freedom from King and God – is a right that we hold dear.
From the wealthy, the bishops and the kings
We wrested back our freedoms, among a host of things.
They grudgingly relented to give the very least
And we seized the goods on offer from the Baron and the Priest.
This is now my culture – value it we must!
If once our eyes do stray away – they’ll fling it in the dust.
Rights and freedoms – are febrile in the light.
They’ll rip them away – they have the power and the might.
I give thanks to the Levellers, the Chartists and rebels all,
Without all their struggles we would not have a life at all.
The suffragettes and Wilberforce struck blows for equality.
They chipped away at oppression and left us democracy.
This is that culture – worthy of a fight!
Free of church and monarchy – valiant and bright!
A culture to be proud of in which I take delight.
Proud to be an Englishman and put the world to right!
Not as an exploiter, a victor or an owner with his fee
But as a friend, a fellow traveller, a champion of the free.
Together we could stand to create justice without tyranny
Take the best from all our cultures and live in harmony.
I offer the hand of friendship
But keep a wary eye.
Freedom is a very rare thing,
But seize it we must try!