Henry's Songbook

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Daddy What Did You Do In The Strike

  • (Ewan MacColl)

    It was in the year of '84 shit really hit the fan
    When 'Mac the Knife' MacGregor, Maggie Thatcher's hatchet-man
    Said, Another twenty pits will have to close to meet the plan
    And we'll dump another twenty thousand miners

    Daddy were you with the first of the first
    Did you tell the NCB to do its worst
    Or did you save your lily liver
    Sell the union down the river
    A scab, a blackleg, one forever cursed

    When Arthur Scargill heard the news he cried, This Yankee slob
    Is a gift from Cowboy Reagan and he's here to steal our jobs
    Do an axe-job on the union for the crummy Thatcher mob
    But we'll show him what it means to be a miner

    Daddy did you man the picket-line
    Did you fight to save the future of the mines
    Or did you take the wrong direction
    Did you squeal for police protection
    Did you let 'em see your india-rubber spine

    Well the Yorkshire lads came out on strike and said, It's evident
    The only way to stop MacGregor and the government
    Is to bring the lads out everywhere from Scotland down to Kent
    And we'll show 'em what it means to be a miner

    Daddy what did you do in the strike
    Did you stand there with your mates and join the fight
    Or did you show a yellow belly
    Spill your guts out on the telly
    Did you let the bosses fill you full of shite

    Some didn't heed the strike call for guts and brains they lack
    They're the colour of a primrose though their hearts and legs are black
    And their noses are all brown with being up the rear of Mac
    They're just a bunch of dirty blackleg miners

    Daddy did you march at the head
    Did you stand there on the picket-line unfed
    Or did you sell your mates to have a
    Fortnight on the Costa Brava
    Did you choose a two-week holiday instead

    Well the battle it is joined at last the forces they are massed
    On their side the press the telly all the weapons of their class
    Plus MacGregor and his blacklegs but we'll never let 'em pass
    The NUM's the weapon of the miners

    Daddy what did you do in the strike
    Did you scab and let your workmates wage the fight
    How the neighbours stood and booed us
    Said we had the stink of Judas
    Daddy what did you do in the strike

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1988:] As in the miners' strike of 1844, [in the 1984-85 strike] a profusion of poems and songs sprang from those involved and from their supporters. [...] The veteran singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl contributed what are probably the two outstanding songs: [This and Only Doing Their Job ].The song is unashamedly partisan, as well as acerbic and pugnacious. (Palmer, History 117f)

  • [1989:] The miners' strike [of 1984/85] lasted 358 days, and [...] cost fourteen deaths (one of them officially a murder), nearly 10,000 arrests, thousands of injuries to both miners and police, and over £7 billion of taxpayers' money. It was a dispute about pit closures and the future of mining communities that was seen by much of the media and the public in more simple terms, as a show of strength between a hard-line left-winger, Arthur Scargill, the miners' leader, and an apostle of market forces, Margaret Thatcher. The media, for the most part, reflected public opinion in their hostility towards the miners, particularly as the bitterness and violence grew. (Denselow, Music 212)

  • See also

  • [2002:] Thatcher, who had made a great fuss about inflation, managed to preside, in 1979-80, over a doubling of the inflation rate, back up to 21.9 per cent. By 1981 the Thatcher government had brought the British economy almost to its knees. Even John Nott, Trade Secretary, a member of the key Cabinet economic committees of the time, and a leading monetarist, took exception to the way Thatcher was demanding even further public spending cuts in July 1981 after the deflationary budget of March. In his memoirs Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (Politico's), just published, Nott says the Government's argument for cuts 'simply did not make the case for its conclusion'. [...] Nott also takes a swipe at Thatcher's 'free market' reputation. 'Margaret Thatcher never believed in liberal economics - it is a complete misreading of her beliefs to depict her as a nineteenth-century Liberal ... Emotionally she was an authoritarian and a protectionist.'

    What Thatcher needed in 1981-82 was diversions. At the time she was the most unpopular prime minister since records began, but she proceeded to make her name by bashing the unions, privatising, and 'busying giddy minds with foreign quarrels' in the Falklands War. Nott believes (as I do) that 'the containment and then near-elimination of trades union political power was more the consequence of high unemployment, brought about by a fierce monetary policy and the high price of sterling, than it was of legislation; but undoubtedly the law had its place'. (William Keegan, Observer 24 Mar)

Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 16.06.2003