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Billy Bragg adapted Florence Reece's 1943 song (as noded above by RabidMonkey) to fit the circumstances of the 1984 miners' strike in the UK, particularly the restrictions on trade union activity (a ban on secondary picketing, limits on the number of pickets and making unions financially liable for losses incurred by employers, effectively overturning the Taff Vale Decision of sixty years earlier) newly imposed by the Thatcher government (and not subsequently repealed).

This government had an idea
And parliament made it law
It seems like it's illegal
To fight for the union any more

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

We went out to join the picket line
For together we cannot fail
We got stopped by police at the county line
They said, "Go home boys or you're going to jail"

It's hard to explain to a crying child
That her daddy can't go back
So the family suffer but it hurts me more
To hear a scab say "Sod you, Jack"

I'm bound to follow my conscience
And do whatever I can
But it'll take much more than the union law
To knock the fight out of a working man

http://www.billybragg.co.uk has it all ...

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