I HAVE BEEN unable to find any biographical material relating to this poet. The song below (along with another called ‘The South Down Milita’) appeared in an undated publication, The Rebels Ceilidh Song Book’, sometime, more than likely, in the mid 1950s. Any information regarding this author would be welcome.
The Provost in the song is Paddy Dollan (Sir Patrick Dollan, Lord Provost of Glasgow 1938-41) – a one-time radical from Baillieston who made a long and, one might suppose, lucrative career for himself in civic politics. He ended up with a string of chairmanships – East Kilbride Development Corporation, Advisory Council for Civil Aviation, Scottish Fuel Efficiency Committee -the first St Mungo prize (£1,000), probably invented with him in mind, and a knighthood. He died in 1963 untainted by any accusation of having failed tae luik oot for hesel.
‘Old Barnhill’ was the Poorhouse in the north of Glasgow, later renamed Foresthall.
The Labour Provost
Tune: The White Cockade
When I was young and fu’ o’ fire
Tae smash the Tories was my firm desire
But noo I’m auld I hae’ mair sense
I just blame the lot on Providence.
I am a man o’ high degree
Lord Provost o’ this great cittee
The workers want a world tae gain
But I’m content wi’ my badge and chain.
Wi’ John Maclean and Willie Gallacher
Yince I thocht I micht ha’e travelled far
But noo the thocht, it fairly makes me pale
Wanst I landed in Barlinnie Jail!
Wi’ ma ermine coat and my office seal
For Socialism I am fu’ o’ zeal
The principles of socialism are a’ very well
Bit ye mustnae forget tae look after yersel.
Let the Russians bum aboot their five year plans
Their tractors, factories and Hydro dams
Lang afore thae Bolshies had an ounce o’ skill
We up and nationalised old Barnhill.
Lang afore the Poles or Rumanians
The Czechoslovaks or Bulgarians
We led the workers on tae victorie
We municipalised the Govan Ferree.
So whan the Queen cam’s tae see us a’
Republican sentiments we’ll banish awa’
On bended knee, or if it suits,
On hunkers doon we’ll lick her boots.
Workers City “The Real Glasgow Stands Up”
Edited By Farquar McLay Clydeside Press