The Good Ones Go First

No good deed goes unpunished

In this topsy turvy place

The wrong people in power, in prison,

In the breadline, losing face.

I put two parents in the ground by 24

Their ghosts march with me, young no more,

For I have learned, we’re not cursed

We just live in a world where the good ones go first.


The NHS, it did its best

But bound and gagged and laid to rest

It just aint what it used to be

So the cuts cut up our families.

Yet you ask why we smash a few windows?

Why we bang on the Parliament doors?

“We’re dying out here, sirs,

And the good ones are going down first

So please sir, can we have some more

Of what’s rightfully ours?”


I loved a boy that stood for justice

And was taken down for nothing,

They take your freedom if you use it

And call power out on suffering.

Cops can bash kids’ heads in and go home to their wives

While our boys stare through bars, left behind by their lives

Watching futures fall down cos they took a slip back

Took some cash to get by or took a stand while black

He’s not cursed – it’s just the good ones go first.


I loved a girl that cared too much

And means the world to me,

They say she’s sick because she strains

To accept a sick society.

But we’ve got pills for that now, don’t we?

Drug em up, lock em up and teach them how to sleep inside,

To swallow the dose of apathy prescribed

Till they forget they ever dreamed of being free,

Just so long as they sit their SATs

And put down their aspirations as they leave.

And we’ve got legions of these kids behind white walls

Cutting themselves up because life is pain, not airbrushed and glossy

And the TV made them hate themselves

And now, they can’t see their own beauty.

She’s not cursed – the good ones just go first.


I love a woman and her children

Imprisoned back at home

Who were bullied and broken

And left all alone

She gave her life to raise them right on stormy seas

But that’s not labour or sacrifice the economy sees

So when she found the courage to run and the strength to go on

She wound up at the food bank, black eyed daughter, frightened son.

Apparently, the state just doesn’t have resources for that

After the bonuses, bailouts, bombs and other crap.

It’s not them, they’re not cursed – the good ones go first.


I loved a survivor, silent for a year,

Carrying her rapist’s shame for him was the worst

But that’s what we do: “shouldn’t have said that, gone there, worn that skirt.”

And no one ever made her feel strong a day in her life

And the greatest dream she inherited was to be a rich woman’s wife

Now she’s explaining to ATOS why she’s too scared to work

“Well you’re 17 and out of school,” they smirk.

But I promise her through gritted teeth

She isn’t cursed or weak

She’s good – and the good ones go first.


I’ve loved brothers and sisters in detention camps,

Queuing for clean water and sleeping on gym floors,

And feared and hated all because

They fled from brutal wars,

Risked everything on that crossing I’ve seen take so many souls

Just to run into barbed wire, tear gas and concrete walls.

We’d sit on the lifejacket beaches and

I’d think of the good ones back home when they’d ask

If it would be ok when they reached London

Or was this the will of God or Allah?

And some days I couldn’t answer

Without breaking my own heart.


There’s no water that can ever

Wash a system like this clean

But I have seen us building something better

On the streets and in my dreams,

While they ask why we smash a few windows,

Why we bang on the Parliament doors,

“We’re dying out here, sirs,

And the good ones are going down first

But if you’d just shut up and listen

You’d hear us coming for what’s ours

The good ones will cross the threshold first

And in their footprints, new grown grass.”

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