Why mam, why? (May 1984)

Submitted by R Totale on May 1, 2020


Why don’t the wheels go round mam?
Why don’t the wheels go round?
‘Cause there comes a time when a man must stand
And take his destiny in his own two hands
And with all the courage that he commands
Say "Don’t let the wheels go round".

Why is the table bare, mam?
Why is the table bare?
‘Cause the strike’s been long, and its made us poor
Though they’ve used the coppers, and bent the law
Its the nation’s future we’re fighting for,
That’s why the table’s bare.

Why does me dad hate scabs, mam?
Why does me dad hate scabs?
‘Cause a scab’s a blackleg, a scab’s a swine
Who has no respect for the picket line
And he ain’t no brother of yours, or mine,
That’s why your dad hates scabs.

Doesn’t the coal board care, mam?
Doesn’t the coal board care?
They have no compassion for you and I
Let our children starve, and the pickets die
There’s a sight more chance that you’ll see pigs fly
Than you’ll see the coal board care.

Why don’t the wheels go round, mam?
Why don’t the wheels go round?
Our fathers fought, and their fathers too
For an industry that we’ll leave to you
Just remember lad, its not them, but you
That makes Britain’s wheels go round.

May 1984

This was the first poem I wrote about the strike. It has been put to music, and I was very ‘touched’ when I heard it sung by a group called ‘Coalition’ at the GLC Festival in Battersea Park last Summer.