Slaves to the State

Slaves to the state, from the cradle to the grave.
My Mother's maternity will benefit me.
But you take away my free school milk,
these brittle bones are rather a pain.
My battered building blocks don't brighten my future.
I draw brightly coloured pictures with crayons,
used again, and again, and again.

As a child no doubt I'll benefit from my Family Income Supplement.
The deposit on a new pair of shoes or a couple of pairs of socks.
Maybe a second-hand blazer would be for the best.
I'll look like all the other kids, a right bloody mess.

You take away my balanced diet,
and provide the indignity of free school meals.
After school I visit my Grandmother,
and watch with mouth watering envy, as she eats her meals on wheels.

As school leaving age arrives, my future prospects become clear.
A life on the dole, a slave to the state, very predictable fears.
But the YTS will save me.
I'll have the pride of work.
It'll give me a skill, it'll give me a trade.
But I find it hard, to raise a smile, at the end of the week when I get paid.

But six months later I walk the streets,
with calloused hands and aching feet.
A skill for digging gardens, a knowledge of painting doors.
An expert at licking boots, an expert at mopping floors.
On the YTS I thought I was saved, but now I'm labelled idle.
One of four million people with the dignity of slaves.
Slaves to the state from the cradle to the grave.

I sit in this wonderful welfare state of ours.
Within four cold walls and in tattered clothes,
an empty gut and running nose.
You make your final cut, my death grant disappears.
I lie in a second-hand coffin, decked in plastic flowers.
One of four million people who'll die, with the dignity of slaves.
Slaves to the state from the cradle to the grave.