You Be Wasting Your Money Up There

Book: Black Swan Green

Author: David Mitchell

Music: One in Ten

Composer/Artist: UB40

UB40’s Labour of Love is a favourite of mine but lacks utterly the political punch of One in Ten Black Swan Green is set at the depths of Thatcher’s lop-sided Britain. One in Ten was somewhat of an anthem for the period, along with The Specials’ Ghost Town (an even darker and much better song, I think). Ireland in 1982 was not noticeably any more depressed than it had been for my whole (young) life. England/Britain, though, seemed to just get worse and worse for the majority under Thatcher. Cities like Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, etc. – Labour Party voting bulwarks –  essentially floated off as expensive drains on the economy and told to fend for themselves. UB40 were from Birmingham so knew all about the realities of that bitch’s political inhumanity. Mitchell’s book refers to straitened times in England but not to the sheer dereliction happening in urban centres around Britain. Ironically, a few miles up the road from where I grew up, tens and hundreds of millions of the Queen’s pounds streamed like paper ribbons out of party poppers into Northern Ireland to bolster the existence of the half million or so Protestant souls, their gerrymandered political landscape, military presence, and religious status quo. And the Provos, the UVF and UDA and all the mini-me paramilitary groups bombed the bejaysus out of it anyway.

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One thought on “You Be Wasting Your Money Up There

  1. […] I wrote a piece about UB40’s One in Ten, a broadside at desolation wrought by Thatcher’s policies. I won’t go over the […]


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