"Take Down The Union Jack" as written by and Billy Bragg....
Take down the Union Jack
It clashes with the sunset
And put it in the attic with the emperors old clothes
When did it fall apart?
Sometime in the eighties
When the great and the good gave way
To the greedy and the mean

Britain isn't cool, you know
It's really not that great
It's not a proper country
It doesn't even have a patron saint
It's just an economic union
That's past its sell-by date

Take down the Union Jack
It clashes with the sunset
And ask our Scottish neighbors
If independence looks any good
'Cause they just might understand
How to take an abstract notion of personal identity
And turn it into nationhood

Is this the 19th Century
That I'm watching on TV
The dear old queen of England
Handing out those MBEs
Member of the British Empire
That doesn't sound too good to me
Gilbert and George are taking the piss aren't they
Gilbert and George are taking the piss
What could be more British than is a picture of me bum
Gilbert and George are taking the piss

Take down the Union Jack
It clashes with the sunset
And pile up all those history books but don't throw them away
They just might have some clues about what it really means
To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England dot Co dot you-K
To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England dot Co dot you-K


Lyrics submitted by robburns

"Take Down the Union Jack" as written by Stephen William Bragg

Lyrics © CHRYSALIS STANDARDS, INC.

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Take Down The Union Jack song meanings
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2 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commentas if nobody's commented this BEAST of a song
    xSiddersxon October 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI guess this is a good example of Billy's later-developed sense of Englishness and his attempt to reclaim nationalism from the right (something that has attracted the ire of a lot of socialists and certainly contradicts the line in his version of 'The Internationale': "...and end the vanity of nations; we've got one earth on which to live").

    The only line that I didn't get at first was "Gilbert and George are taking the piss, aren't they?". After looking into it, it turns out Gilbert and George are a pair of artists with openly conservative, Thatcherite and monarchist views. I'm not sure if there's something in particular they said or did that got Billy's blood up, but if anyone knows it'd be nice to hear.
    SiliconRainon September 01, 2011   Link

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