“Six Men” by Elvis McGonagall

A tribute to the Tolpuddle Martyrs

TP6

Let’s ride with the ghost of Captain Swing
Together we can kick against the pricks
Let’s meet under the sycamore tree
Let’s march with the Tolpuddle Six
Standfield senior, Standfield junior
Loveless, Loveless, Hammet and Brine
Six sons of the soil united in toil
Life and liberty laid on the line

Shoulder to shoulder, hands to the plough
Fingers bloodied to the bone
Rooted in the ground of Gabriel Oak
The seeds of our unity were sown

Six men made one with thousands fighting for their rights
From field and farm to dark satanic mill
Solidarity cannot be shackled
No lord and master can break the workers’ will

But the squire is still in the mansion on the hill
The robber baron’s in the boardroom chair
The banker’s got the world in his wallet
The politician is a millionaire

They’re the pin-striped Emperors of naked greed
Cocooned in their ivory tower
Tossing crumbs to the “deserving needy”
As they swagger through the corridors of power

They’re carving up welfare, cutting down hope –
“Let the poor huddled masses eat cake”
This land is being sold for a crock of gold
They’ve pimped us out to oligarch and sheikh

They’re dancing in the lap of luxury
We’re sinking in a sea of debt
We will not be silent, we will be free
We will build a new Jerusalem yet

For the tyrant faction are but few
We’re the many, we’re the ninety nine percent
They need us but we don’t need them
It’s time to organise our discontent

Come all you Diggers, you Ranters, you rebels
Thump that tub and raise Cain again
Throw your shoes in the face of injustice
Stand up with the Tolpuddle men

Come back to us today William Blake
Come back Wat Tyler, Tom Paine, Jack Cade
Come all you redundant, you sick and tired
Come all you overworked and underpaid

Come all you brothers and sisters far and wide
From Tiananmen to Tahrir Square
Let Arab Spring become a Dorset Summer
Let the downtrodden rise up from despair

Come all you Greek fishermen and Kenyan nurses
Come all you sweatshop slaves of Jakarta
Come all you Filipino maids and Spanish miners
Come and march with the Tolpuddle martyrs

Let’s ride with the ghost of Captain Swing
Together we can kick against the pricks
Let’s meet under the sycamore tree
Let’s march with the Tolpuddle Six

Capt Swing

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