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To Have and to Have Not
by Billy Bragg

Up in the morning and out to school
Mother says there'll be no work next year
Qualifications once the Golden Rule
Are now just pieces of paper

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

If you look the part you'll get the job
In last year's trousers and your old school shoes
The truth is son, it's a buyer's market
They can afford to pick and choose

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because I dress like this
Doesn't mean I'm a communist

The factories are closing and the army's full -
I don't know what I'm going to do
But I've come to see in the Land of the Free
There's only a future for the Chosen Few

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

At twenty one you're on to of the scrapheap
At sixteen you were top of the class
All they taught you at school
Was how to be a good worker
The system has failed you, don't fail yourself

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: BILLY BRAGG

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on specific lyrics, highlight them
Comments from YouTube:

HisDubbness68

I'd love to say I really love the LF&TB version, but I can't abide Lars changing what I feel is the most important line in the whole song ("the system has failed you don't fail yourself") into some self-serving bullshit about his hometown and getting a guitar.

thereal sayonara

Yeah, there's a lot to be said for, not droppin' outta high school and gettin' a guitar.

I mean, lars, i get it. As fine as it might be, there is definitely a line between the system failing you/counting on yourself, and just quitting on the system with middle finger held high. It's kinda like le bron james tellin' dudes, "*fuck higher education, you bustah.. get up on that rim! You gonna be a star!*"

Ddasd Mdasd

"just because i dress like this, doesn't mean i'm a communist" is one of my all time favourite lyrics.

Enda Dorgan

John Gallagher
I have fond memories of going to punk gigs in the 90s on my own. I never saw anything wrong with just turning up alone.

John Gallagher

He did it a concert here in Toronto ..then quipped ..but it might . His hard core fans like yours truly absolutely popped at this moment. I went to go see it on a Sunday night in my second or third year in uni. Went alone because none of my other friends are into him . Just reminded me actually as I sit here by myself totally alone during quarantine how much fun I had one night by myself and how imma enjoy this even if I spent every minute by myself. Was definitely one of my top 5 moments of my university career .

Sailing oie sauvage

But he is a communist

Zachary Wood

Why?

CarterTheUnstoppableFaxMachine

Just because my shirt's too tight/doesn't mean I'm a Thatcherite

Cosmo K

Up in the morning and out to school
Mother says there'll be no work next year
Qualifications once the Golden Rule
Are now just pieces of paper

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

If you look the part you'll get the job
In last year's trousers and your old school shoes
The truth is son, it's a buyer's market
They can afford to pick and choose

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because I dress like this
Doesn't mean I'm a communist

The factories are closing and the army's full
I don't know what I'm going to do
But I've come to see in the Land of the Free
There's only a future for the Chosen Few

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

At twenty one you're on top of the scrapheap
At sixteen you were top of the class
All they taught you at school
Was how to be a good worker
The system has failed you, don't fail yourself

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

Andrew Buckley

I think it's fair to say in our land of the free that the futures dictated by the richest few

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