Just because you’re going forwards, doesn’t mean I’m going backwards

… and following on from the previous post on education, I can’t quite believe that Billy Bragg’s To have and to have not is almost 30 years old. It’s still valid; still resonates strongly.

To have and to have not

Up in the morning and out to school
Mother says there’ll be no work next year
Qualifications once the golden rule
are now just pieces of paper

Just because you’re better than me,
doesn’t mean I’m lazy.
Just because you’re going forwards
doesn’t mean I’m going backwards.

If you look the part you’ll get the job
in last year’s trousers and your old schools shoes.
Truth is, son, it’s a buyers’ market
they can afford to pick and choose.

Just because you’re better than me,
doesn’t mean I’m lazy.
Just because I dress like this
doesn’t mean I’m a communist

The factory’s closing and the army’s full
I don’t know what I’m going to do
Well I’ve come to see in the land of the free
there’s only a future for the chosen few.

Just because you’re better than me,
doesn’t mean I’m lazy.
Just because you’re going forwards
doesn’t mean I’m going backwards.

At 21 you’re on top of the scrapheap;
at 16 you were top of your class.
All they taught you at school was how to be a good worker.
The system has failed you; don’t fail yourself.

Just because you’re better than me,
doesn’t mean I’m lazy.
Just because you’re going forwards
doesn’t mean I’m going backwards.

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