Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said that ‘Those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden’ with regard to the swingeing cuts to both the public and private sector that he is still in the process of making.

Since the start of this recession, “the combined fortune of Britain’s richest 1,000 people has hit a new high of £519bn – equivalent to a third of the nation’s economic output, and double the figure of five years ago.

Yes, the wealth of the top 1,000 people has doubled since the financial crisis began in 2009.”



When empires built in ancient times were setting out their stalls;
The working men of conquered lands were forced to build their walls.
So pyramids embraced the sky and Coliseums rose
And those with broadest shoulders were compelled to aid the cause.

When industry lit up the sky and blackened it as well;
When brass was fashioned hand o’er fist from making things to sell.
The mines, the mills, the docks, the rails, the cuts, the fact’ries too
Were stocked with shoulders soaked in sweat who paid their revenue.

Now narrow-shouldered bankers are the cause of all our pain;
Where long term prudence was exchanged for nowt but short term gain.
There are no brawny shoulders left to place against the wheel;
No noses to the grindstone and no nerves are left to steel.

The working man is dead and gone unsexed like next door’s cat.
The only shoulders left are now obese and lined with fat.
The blood through hardened arteries, the sweat from lack of care,
The tears will come in years from now when cabinet is bare

Like those who fought in wars gone by were herded to the front;
So those with broadest shoulders have been left to bear the brunt.

© gray lightfoot

Hear Gray read the poem…