A Few Words in Defense of Our Country

by Harry on January 12, 2009

Toward the end of the Miner’s Strike in 1985 I was accompanying some student march to County Hall, shaking a collecting tin, when I was confronted by a balding middle aged man in, I kid you not, a bowler hat and pin stripe suit:
(Angrily) “What are you complaining about now? I’m not going to give money to bloody students, the state already pays for you”
(Cheerfully) “Oh no, I’m not complaining about anything.” (I didn’t go into what I suspected was our agreement on the immorality of the state subsidizing the passage of the most privileged children in society into its elite, but I conveyed that complex message with a grin). “I’m collecting for the striking miners”.
(Surprised) “Oh”. He looked me straight in the eye, with genuine sympathy. “They can’t win you know. But..” he produced a 20 quid note and placed it in my tin “at least they might give this bloody shower in charge a run for their money”. (One of the lessons of collecting for the miners was never to judge a person by the way they dressed.)

Memory triggered by:

from Randy Newman’s wonderful Harps & Angels. You have just a few days left to hear it in its proper context. I hope.

Unless there’s some heroic parenting, on the other hand, my daughters have their entire lives to hear this in its proper context (particularly recommended for Laura).