Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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Those who do not learn from their own history are doomed.

I'm intrigued as to what version of British history they teach at Eton, if David Cameron feels that multiculturalism has failed. In which case, he'd get a quick lesson in the true nature of English culture from that muscular liberal Billy Bragg and his Blokes with their song "England, Half English"

So I did a quick search for the lyrics and a video.

(Oddly those lyrics and the video are missing a verse, "Gilbert and George are taking the piss. What's more English than a picture of me bum?")

England, Half English

My mother was half English and I’m half English too
I’m a great big bundle of culture tied up in the red white and blue
I’m a fine example of your Essex man
And I’m well familiar with the Hindustan
Cos my neighbours are half English and I’m half English too

My breakfast was half English and so am I you know
I had a plate of Marmite soldiers washed down with a cappuccino
And I have a veggie curry about once a week
The next day I fry it up as bubble and squeak
Cos my appetites half English and I’m half English too

Dance with me to this very English melody
From morris dancing to Morrissey,
all that stuff came from across the sea

Britannia, she’s half English, she speaks Latin at home
St George was born in the Lebanon, how he got here I don’t know
And those three lions on your shirt,
They never sprang from England’s dirt
Them lions are half English and I’m half English too

Le-li Umma le-li-ya, le-li Umma le-li-ya,
Le-li Umma le-li-ya, bledi g’desh akh! le-li-ya

Oh my country, what a beautiful country you are
Here's the official video:

Billy Bragg - England, Half English

Here he is, singing the song at an anti-racism event in Leicester, a rather delightfully folky live version of the song, mashing it up with (I think) John Barleycorn.

A little bit of politics. My name's Simon Bisson, goodnight.

A comment in another place notes that the Gilbert and George line is from "Take Down The Union Jack". I plead guilty, while noting that it's another song about the same theme from the same album.
Tags: history, lyrics, music, politics
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