Morrissey’s Thatcherite rant still resonates

Once in a while you hear a song where the lyrics are completely out of place.   The 80s band, The Smiths, could never be mistaken for a right wing voice but yet in Still Ill you get the lyrics:

I decree today that life
Is simply taking and not giving
England is mine – it owes me a living
But ask me why, and I’ll spit in your eye

I don’t know enough about the band to comment on what they were trying to say – but this did capture some of the zeitgeist of the time – that ushered in Thatcher and Reagan.

Even Bruce Cockburn had a little ‘rightest deviation’ in The Trouble With Normal when he takes a jab at unions:

Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage
Suddenly it’s repression, moratorium on rights
What did they think the politics of panic would invite?

I’m a big believer in the social safety net and the axiom that you can judge a society by how it treats its poor and most vulnerable but there is a point at which this can cross into “England is mind – it owes me a living” territory.

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