Big Issue

Stranglers “No More Heroes”

It was 1977 when I saw The Stranglers at the City Hall in Newcastle. I remember the


electrifying power of the band and the fact that so few people could create so much noise was amazing. We were right up in the Gods but I felt pinned against the wall, the bass line hammering into my chest.
Like a lot of the punk bands at the time there seemed little separation between them and the fans. In fact by the end of the gig the stage was full of pogoing fans.
The theme of the song was something I disagreed with. There were heroes, people like Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner and Trade Union leaders like Arthur Scargill plus a little known back bench MP who always seemed to stand up for the marginalised and the oppressed called Jeremy Corbyn (I wonder what happened to him?).
I had also been very involved in supporting the Miners and I had seen the militarisation of the police and the impact that the Tory policies were having on the mining communities. Whilst the Police and the Government did everything they could to defeat the Miners other groups in society came to their support. Ordinary people all over the country gave magnificent support to the Miners in whatever way they could. I remember one Christmas being told by the local Miners Wives Support Group that they didn’t know what to do with all the turkeys they had been given. Sadly they were badly let down by their political leaders who had the chance to back the miners but did not.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been seething with anger about the Home Office treatment of the “Windrush Generation” and I can guarantee that behind the words nothing will change, they are metering the same hard faced treatment to migrants they have been heaping on the unemployed, low paid and the disabled. Their selfishness and greed has no limits and I despair when I see this crippled and broken world we are leaving to our children. If there ever was a time for the heroes to rise up it is now.
My poem this week is one person’s story. I think a big part of the problem is instead of many people seeing problems as statistics i.e too many immigrants, too many unemployed etc. What they need to do is see the person. Many people wanted the government to clamp down on immigrants and the government felt they had the authority to create a hostile environment but when they saw the reality of the damage it has done to peoples lives they are disgusted. See the person, see their problems and ask what we can do to help rather than how do we make the problem go away.

Big Issue

Homeless and rootless
Underclassed and underfed
No permanent address
No crib for a bed

An obstacle between her Father
And his latest girlfriend
Running out of floor space
Going round the bend

No address, no job
No work, no home
No matter, not important
Invisible and alone

Running out of food
Hope and self worth
A government statistic
An accident of birth

© Jeff Price April 2018