Sea shanty thought for the day from York satirist Graham Sanderson…

Graham Sanderson: What Shall We Do…?, a new political twist on The Drunken Sailor

PROMPTED by Scottish postal worker Nathan Evans topping the charts with the sea shanty curio Wellerman, and the Government’s mooted legislation to “protect” the statues of slave traders and the like, York scribe Graham Sanderson has picked up his scathing satirical pen once more.

At Christmas he penned a topical revision of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, addressing Brexit, Covid et al, under the title of A Carol For The Cabinet. Now, York Settlement Community Players’ stalwart Graham “feels an update of The Drunken Sailor might be in order”.

And so, here comes What Shall We Do…?

What shall we do with the rich slave trader?

What shall we do with the rich slave trader?

What shall we do with the rich slave trader?

In the eighteen hundreds.

Wey hey and up he rises –

Wey hey and up he rises –

Wey hey and up he rises –

Through the eighteen hundreds.

Put him on a plinth with an old Crusader

Celebrate the cash he gave to a neighbour

Never say a word about slave labour

In the Age of Empire.

Wey hey and up he rises –

Wey hey and up he rises –

Wey hey and up he rises –

Through the British Empire.

Times have changed for the old slave trader

Like his mate with the Christian sabre –

Racist merchant; cruel invader

In the Modern Era.

Wey Hey and look ’im over –

Wey Hey and look ’im over –

Wey Hey and move ’im over –

Now we see him clearer.

What shall we do with his noble visage,

Cast-iron bust or marble image –

Break ’em up or just add signage

For the twenty-twenties?

Wey Hey and How to sort it –

Wey Hey and How to sort it –

Can’t we somehow just report it

In the twenty-twenties?

Make ’im pay for all those slaughters:

Men and women, sons and daughters

Chained and drowned in foreign waters

Beaten down for cash.

Wey Hey we see it straight now –

Wey Hey we feel the weight now –

Empire’s done – we’re just a State now

Caught in History’s backlash.

Graham Sanderson

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