Unless you’re a Lib Dem conference goer, you’re unlikely to have ever heard of the Liberal Democrat Glee Club – a surprisingly well attended sing song event held every year by the party faithful (apparently tradition dictates that Paddy always makes the same joke and Tim Farron always does a rendition of “That’s not my name”-it’s that sort of party).
But intriguingly, it transpires that one of the most well-known and well-loved renditions is “The Land Song”. Over a century old, the song’s words pay testament to the historic sway of land, agriculture and food over the political landscape.
The words (sang to the tune of “Marching Through Georgia; Henry Clay Work) are below. And if you’re a real glutton for punishment, you can listen to my partner and a couple of friends singing it on Radio 5 Live here (41:50 in).
Sound the call for freedom boys, and sound it far and wide,
March along to victory for God is on our side,
While the voice of nature thunders o’er the rising tide,
“God gave the land to the people!”
The land, the land, ‘twas God who made the land,
The land, the land, the ground on which we stand,
Why should we be beggars with the ballot in our hand?
God made the land for the people.
Hark the sound is spreading from the East and from the West,
Why should we work hard and let the landlords take the best?
Make them pay their taxes on the land just like the rest,
The land was meant for the people.
Clear the way for liberty, the land must all be free,
Liberals will not falter from the fight, tho’ stern it be,
‘Til the flag we love so well will fly from sea to sea
O’er the land that is free for the people.
The army now is marching on, the battle to begin,
The standard now is raised on high to face the battle din,
We’ll never cease from fighting ‘til victory we win,
And the land is free for the people.
Well who would have thought?! For more history on the song, check out http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/the-land-song/ . I may have been wrong about party conferences…