Tuesday, 8 May 2018

On The Road To Freedom Now


A song by Willie Drennan
Painting by Caroline


To find the road to freedom you take the trail
Where some folks weep and some folks wail
Then take the long winding lane
To feel the wrath and feel the pain.
All roads to freedom are not the same
You might cross Sorrow you might catch Blame
But once you make it round the final bend
It’s all the same freedom in the end.

But what exactly is freedom? Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of choice? Freedom to vote for and against those who determine our laws? Or, perhaps just the freedom to function within the confines of a comfort zone?


I wasn't too sure ,at first, where the inspiration for this song came from, but as I started scribbling down words on paper I soon realised this was connected to the UK's post-Brexit road to freedom.

I was aware that my road to freedom wasn't quite the same as EU Remain voters' road to freedom. But nevertheless, if we do manage to make it round the final bend of our respective roads to freedom, it is all the same freedom in the end.

And the chorus goes on to invite others to join us on our road to freedom.

We’re on the road to freedom now
On the road to freedom now
So shed your heavy load and join us on the road
On the road to freedom now.

I have always admired the spirit of the freedom-loving fox: the epitome of a freedom lover. The foxes' road to freedom often cuts through dangerous territory where the rewards can be wonderful: if they survive and make it round the final bend. It does seem that risk and danger are inevitable along any road to any freedom. It is still the same freedom in the end.

Just like the fox who roams at night
Across the fields in pale moonlight
She loves to follow freedom’s way
Down her own freedom road she loves to stray.
And she knows that road with danger is fraught
She knows by dawn she might get shot
And if she never makes it round the final bend
It’s still the same freedom in the end.

The Brexit road to freedom does open up all kinds of exciting possibilities for me. It's a road that leads out to the great big wide world: beyond the bureaucratic confines of the EU State and it's attempt to control all roads that lead to freedom beyond its domain.

That road goes up the highest hill
To view the world and feel the thrill
Then out across the seven seas
To feel the world in the breeze.

Currently the EU is trying to impose a hard physical border between the UK and Ireland in a last ditch effort to block this road to freedom.

A century ago our ancestors, on the island of Ireland, fought and died for a freedom they believed in. Our forebears went down very different roads in their quest for freedom. My family signed the Ulster Covenant, joined the UVF, fought for Britain in World War One. All in their quest for freedom. Others too, fought for Britain in WW1, but also joined the IRA and fought for their freedom in the Anglo-Irish Wars and the Irish Civil War. All in the same quest for the very same notion of freedom.

On the island of Ireland today we have the choice to reward all our forebears for their sacrifice by sharing the same road to freedom and endeavouring to make it around the final bend together: feeling the same freedom in the end. We are closer today than we've ever been to making it around the final bend.

But first it’s down the darkest glen
When you’re out of there you don’t know when
But once you make it round the final bend
You will feel freedom in the end.

Or, we can remain subservient to a dominant authoritarian foreign power: causing our forbears to turn in their graves and wonder why they ever even bothered.

[On The Road To Freedom Now will feature in a new album to be released in early July]



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