I wrote this after a… lively conversation about trade unions with someone who crossed picket lines in the 1980s. I found their inability to see how the union had still worked in their favour despite their lack of solidarity very frustrating. That’s not to say that I think unions are always a totally positive force in the world, but I do believe that collective action is one of the few ways that working class people are able to impact the political establishment.

I also want to shout out Peaky Blinders - Freddie Thorne’s storyline in the first 2 seasons was in my brain as I worked on verse 2. Oh, and the true nerds amongst you may get the reference in the title…

Broken songs in broken tongues
The battle line collapsed
Broken trust in broken hands
And fixes that won’t last

A burden laid at tired feet,
The losses to survey:
A prelude to one more retreat
A muffled cry for aid
It’s only one more step along the way

Black-legs come and go like trains
From cradle to the grave
A victory for the company man:
Another fraction saved

A contract for an endless debt
To underwrite the sale
Broadsheets passed out, ink still wet
With backs against the rail
It’s only one more step along the way

Mark the ledger, sign your name
Waive your right to ask:
Who cut the ties that used to bind
The master to the task?

But if there’s still a line to hold
It’s power to your hand
To shake the tree until the fruit
Falls heavy to the land
It’s only one more step along the way

© T Ashworth 2018