Leon Rosselson, “Battle Hymn of the New Socialist Party”

When I was a child, I used to wonder idly, every December, why the shopping centres kept playing the tune to “The Red Flag”. It took me years to realise that the tune was actually “O, Tannenbaum” to most people.

It was in the liner notes to Billy Bragg’s The Internationale, released in 1990, that I discovered that “The Red Flag” was originally written to the much less dirge-like tune of “The White Cockade”.

Given all that history, I got a great laugh from this song, based on the wrong tune, lampooning the “socialism” of the British Labor Party. It’s probably the Wob influence, but I’m particularly fond of satire that derides the hypocrisy of those who claim to represent the working-class while exploiting them. This song is now on my list of favourites, along with “Love Me I’m a Liberal”, and “Bump Me Into Parliament”. Many thanks to Alex Bainbridge for directing my attention to this musician.

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