Chumbawamba

Chumbawamba The Birmingham Six Lyrics

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The Birmingham Six Songtext

Birmingham, 1974, there occurred a bloody murder
Twenty-one people killed by bombs, Britain reeled in horror
Within three hours the British State found the first available scapegoats--
Five Irish men bound for Belfast, about to board the boat
And this is their story, very sad, but true
Of how six men were falsely imprisoned for something they didn't do
And if any should say, "British justice is the very best in the world"
Tell them, "Well of course it is, for the vested interests it serves"
The men were taken to Morkham to be tested for explosives
Tests which have since proved ambiguous but were at the time held as conclusive
One scientists' word was sufficient to condemn the Irish men
Like vultures the police moved in to begin interrogations
In the circumstances how well do you think the men's rights were observed?
The cops thought they had the bombers; do you think they kept their judgement reserved?
Does 'innocent till proven guilty' have any meaning at all
When you're alone in a police house surrounded by cops being kicked around like a ball
In a dark windowless room half a dozen detectives were waiting
Billy Power was thrown in, the serious questions about to begin
He was kicked and hit and punched from all sides, spread-eagled against the wall
They kicked him and hit him again, a voice from the dark said, "Stretch his balls"
Soon after, poor Billy surrendered, screamed, "I'll tell you anything you want me to say"
Sat in his own excretia, he could hardly speak he remained in a daze
Whilst cops compiled his statement of how he planted the bombs
They threatened him with the treatment again so Billy signed a confession
Thursday night became Friday night, the five men were took back to Birmingham
The threats and the violence continued--a taste of what was to come
Deprived of food and sleep, all part of procedure to break the men
Johnny Walker blacked out twice; they untied his hands while he signed his confession
And Richard McIlkenny was threatened with a gun
The cop said it was OK to shoot him, that the home officer'd given permission
The cop asked him if he was going to sign, put the gun against his head
Playing Russian roulette with a blank; when he banged McIlkenny thought he was dead
Hugh Callaghan, a sixth man, was picked up in Berm and tortured
He, too, hadn't done it but they made him sign a confession to mass murder
Six men kept in isolation no contact with each other
And it weren't until Monday morning that they each got a duty solicitor
Still separate each unbuttoned his shirt to show how he'd been beaten up
The solicitors, filling in legal aid forms, said there wasn't time and refused to look
The only obvious injury, Johnny Walker's black eye in court that day
When he tried to unbotton his shirt all the majistrates said, "Let's take him away"
Leland workers staged a walkout, their banners read "Hang the IRA"
The labor government empowered at the time rushed through the PTA
In their war on the Irish people the British wanted vengeance
Despite glaring omissions in the so-called confessions the six men hadn't a chance
The judge dismissed their claims, said it would've meant there'd been a conspiracy
Between fifteen officers from two different forces, as if it was an impossibility
The police in fact became heroes, got their promotion and victory medals
The six men got life imprisonment and fifteen years on they're still in jail
The men protested their innocence but it fell mainly on deaf ears
They wanted to bring the policemen to trial, the appeal took seven years
Lord Denning dismissed their case out of hand, saying "These actions cannot go on"
What he really meant was the State machine could never admit it's done wrong
Another six years, another appeal, another set of judiciary
To uphold the original convictions as safe and satisfactory
For if it ever gets out that the State judges wrong, well what would people say?
We'd say, "We know who are real enemies are now", and we'd form our own IRA
Oh let me tell a story, very sad, but true
Of how six men were falsely imprisoned for something they didn't do
And if any should say, "British justice is the very best in the world"
Tell them, "Well of course it is, for the vested interests it serves"
For as long as we remain ignorant they'll fight their war against Ireland
For as long as we remain silent they'll imprison any they want
For as long as we keep our eyes shut they'll continue to contain us
For as long as we remain passive they'll trample us into the dust
Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Richard McIlkenny, Johnny Walker, Gerry Hunter, and Billy Power
Still fighting for their freedom fifteen long years on
Their spirits shall remain when our State is dead
When our State is dead
When our State is dead and gone
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