Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A post script re British politics and the movements for workers

The old U.K Tory Party would end its annual conferences by singing this:

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,

How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?

Wider still, and wider, shall thy bounds be set;

God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!

The music to which the words of "Land of hope and glory, &c” are set is the Trio theme from Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.

Americans usually call this music “Pomp and Circumstance” : they know it well as it is traditionally played at High School and College graduation ceremonies.

Smart-assed British people, such as I, know that the music is but one of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance Marches”.

Perhaps we’ll all agree that the words are pompous, arrogant and jingoistic.

Such was the world of the U.K.’s first 20th Century Monarch, Edward VII (son of Queen Victoria).

And such is still the world of modern day U.K. Tories.


Meanwhile, the Labour Party conferences would end with the singing of the following, set to the tune which we know as “O Tannenbaum” (or “O Christmas Tree”)

1.The worker's flag is deepest red

It shrouded oft our martyred dead;

And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold

Their life-blood dyed its every fold.


Then raise the scarlet standard high

!Beneath its folds we'll live and die.

Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer

We'll keep the red flag flying here.

2. Look 'round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,

The sturdy German chants its praise,

In Moscow's vaults its hymns are sung

Chicago swells the surging song.

Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,

This song shall be our parting hymn.


3. It waved above our infant might

When all ahead seemed dark as night.

It witnessed many a deed and vow,

We will not change its color now.


4. It suits today the meek and base,

Whose minds are fixed on self and place,

To cringe beneath the rich man's frown,

And haul that sacred emblem down.


5. With heads uncovered swear we all

To bear it onward till we fall;

Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,

This song shall be our parting hymn.


These are stirring words indeed, tailor made for an old lefty such as I. But the New Labour leaders such as the dreadful Tony Blair would sing the word with great embarrassment. For they were no longer the party of the workers - more is the pity.

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