Video: Andy Worthington’s Band The Four Fathers Play ‘Stand Down Theresa’, An Updated Version of The Beat’s ‘Stand Down Margaret’


A screenshot from the video of The Four Fathers playing 'Stand Down Theresa', a version of The Beat's protest classic, 'Stand Down Margaret.'When I was growing up in late 70s Britain, one of the great political anthems of the time — when we were not short of protest music from, to name but a few artists, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Specials — was ‘Stand Down Margaret’ by The Beat, featured on their debut album, ‘I Just Can’t Stop It,’ which was released in 1980. Paired with Prince Buster’s ‘Whine and Grine,’ ‘Stand Down Margaret’ primarily featured a polite but wonderfully poetic and insistent message, asking Margaret Thatcher, who became Prime Minister the year before, to resign. As the song stated:

I see no joy, I see only sorrow
I see no chance of a bright new tomorrow
Stand down Margaret, stand down please
Stand down Margaret

Here’s Dave Wakeling of The Beat talking about the song in 2013 — and about Margaret Thatcher, about whom he said, “Most everything about Margaret Thatcher was pretend … a way for the privileged to secure themselves at the expense of everybody else.” And here’s fabulous footage of The Beat playing their “insurrectionary anthem” on children’s TV.

It was actually rather prescient of The Beat to work out so swiftly that the self-styled Iron Lady’s destructiveness would also extinguish joy and hope for her many victims — those thrown into unemployment and poverty as she set about destroying British industry, motivated by her hatred of the unions and her enthusiastic embrace of neoliberalism, selling off state-owned enterprises and liberalising the financial markets.

I occasionally sang the song under Thatcher, while jamming with friends, and again under Tony Blair, and I also recall singing ‘Stand Down David’ under David Cameron, but since last summer, when the bleak authoritarian nightmare — and ‘hard Brexit’ convert — Theresa May became Prime Minister, I have found myself singing ‘Stand Down Theresa’ to myself on numerous occasions. See here for my archive of articles about Brexit, and check out my most recent article about the election, The Spectacular and Unforeseen Collapse of Theresa May and the Tories.

As a result of finding ‘Stand Down Theresa’ regularly running through my head, I recently rehearsed it with my band The Four Fathers, and wrote some new lyrics to reflect the particular monstrousness of Theresa May, who lacks the social skills and political vision, however malignant, of Thatcher, and is an especially alarming example of the worst kind of joy- and hope-extinguishing political leader that these isolated Puritan isles can produce.

Yesterday, I recorded a video of us playing a rough, punky version of the song, and last night I worked out how to trim it and add some titles, uploading it to YouTube today to hopefully play a small part in the campaign to unseat May and the Tories in the last three days before the General Election on Thursday. It’s also on Facebook here.

The video is below. Please share it if you appreciate its sentiments, despite its lo-fi limitations, and the unfortunate fact that only myself, Richard Clare on electric guitar and Brendan Horstead on drums were able to take part, as both our bassist Mark Quiney and our harmonica player and flautist Andrew Fifield had other family and work commitments.

I hope you can hear the lyrics OK. If not, my amended version is as follows:

I see no joy, I see only sorrow
I see no chance of a bright new tomorrow
Stand down Theresa, stand down please
Your heart is in the freezer

Well I don’t know how a leader could be worse
You want hard Brexit but that’s a curse
The rich get richer while poverty gets worse
You’re the leader of the pack but you’re driving a hearse
Give it up now
We don’t want you around now

Please check out all our recordings here on Bandcamp, including our first album, ‘Love and War’, our ‘Fighting Injustice’ EP, with UK and US versions available, and the first singles released from our forthcoming second album, ‘How Much Is A Life Worth?’ — ‘Close Guantánamo’, ‘Dreamers’ and ‘Riot’, the latter a warning to Theresa May and the Tories about the dangers of constantly enriching the rich at the expense of the poor. We’ll be releasing another single soon, probably ‘London’, my love song to the capital after over 30 years living here, primarily based on how its hedonistic wildness has given way, in the last 20 years, to the ravages of dull hyper-greed.

Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you can offer us gigs, festivals, parties, remixes, do get in touch!

Note: For The Beat nowadays, check out The English Beat featuring Dave Wakeling, and The Beat featuring Ranking Roger.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

12 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article promoting my band The Four Fathers’ new video of us playing ‘Stand Down Theresa’, a rough, DIY version of The Beat’s protest classic, ‘Stand Down Margaret’, for which I wrote a new verse about why Theresa May and the Tories must be voted out of office at Thursday’s General Election. As I say:

    “I don’t know how a leader could be worse
    You want hard Brexit but that’s a curse
    The rich get richer while poverty gets worse
    You’re the leader of the pack but you’re driving a hearse”

    I hope you like it, and will share it if you do.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    Shared. I hope with every sinew of my being that on Thursday solidarity will win over division, humanity will defeat hatred and Corbyn will beat May and as one we can help each other heal

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    I couldn’t have put it better myself, Marion. Great to hear from you!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    Still hoping for a West Coast concert

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, we have a new bassist with a van, Marion, so maybe we’ll do a little tour next year sometime!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Dominik Tea Spitzer wrote:

    Shared xx

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for sharing it, Dominik!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilbert wrote:

    Love the rhyming of Theresa and freezer 😉 x

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for appreciating it, Ruth. I’m very proud of that!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Nearly 350 views now on YouTube and Facebook! Thanks, everyone! Please keep watching and sharing. The polls open in six hours.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    We’re posting this every day on Twitter until May is no longer in power. Please join us!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Just reached 500 views! Thanks, everyone. Feel free to use the hashtag #StandDownTheresa as much as you like!

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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