The Rich Man's Feast

from by Mick Blake

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The laissez faire policies of the British government in the 1840s had a catastrophic effect on Ireland during the period known as the Great Hunger. Queen Victoria, herself ironically renowned for her voracious appetite, ruled over a government that refused to intervene in the markets, and allowed merchants to export quantites of food to England while the Irish starved.

The economic philosphy of "The market must decide", now rebranded as neo-liberalism, has once again become the mantra of western governments, much to the detriment of the poorest and weakest in society.


The Rich Man's Feast

It's said that Queen Victoria was as round as she was tall
And when it came to banqueting, she could outeat them all
She'd trawl through seven courses in thirty minutes straight
And ask about the Irish once she'd licked the seventh plate
She told the royal treasury to send two thousand pounds
To show her starving subjects that their Queen's love knew no bounds
A few crumbs from her table, and her conscience was appeased
When the poor man's famine was the rich man's feast

A Sultan Lord of Turkey, he heard of Ireland's plight
Took pity on the Irish, and to the Queen did write
"Your Majesty I'd like to send ten thousand pounds to feed
your subjects in Hibernia in their time of need"
But the Christian Queen could not be bettered by a Muslim Moor
So she told him that he could not send a greater sum thatn her
To save the royal blushes, his charity decreased
When the poor man's famine was the rich man's feast

Across the wild Atlantic, a noble people dwell,
And in the name of "progress" suffered their own hell
Driven from their homeland by ruthless profiteers
The Chocktaw died in thousands all along the trail of tears
On hearing of the starving isle across the ocean wide
They gathered every cent they had and sent it on the tide
For they had known a hunger like their brothers to the East
When the rich man's famine was the poor man's feast

Now blight is often quoted as the root of Ireland's woes
But enough to feed this country two times over left these shores
The army guarded ports from Donegal to Bantry Bay
So British ships could safely carry Irish food away
The good Queen's chief economist, Lord Nassau, couldn't hide
His bitter disappointment when just one million died
The blood of the Irish kept the wheels of commerce greased
When the poor man's famine was the rich man's feast

A century has come and gone, still we never learn
That decency is cast aside where profits are concerned
Its not with food but water that they try to beat us down,
Gone is Queen Victoria, King Denis wears the crown
And under some delusion that the markets just might care
Our government play middle men to gambling billionaires
While the rich avoid their taxes and the working man is fleeced
Then the poor man's famine's still the rich man's feast

And what we allow continues, as history repeats
And the poor man's famine's still the rich man's feast....


from Oblivious, released March 17, 2017
Vocals, guitars, piano, accordian - Mick Blake



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Mick Blake Leitrim Village, Ireland

Mick Blake is a singer/songwriter, originally from Letterkenny, now living in Leitrim. His songs have a strong social message. Christy Moore included "Oblviious" on his 2016 album "Lily".

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