Letter: Lyrics ended the long search

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The Independent Culture
MY CHILDREN and I would like to thank the Independent on Sunday for publishing the words to 'The Red Flag' (2 October). Every year, watching a television broadcast from the Labour Party conference, we had only managed to catch the words 'We'll keep the red flag flying here' of the final singsong. Each time we wondered what the rest of the words were.

Enquiries among friends and relations had produced only the helpful suggestion that 'working class' and 'kiss my arse' were included somewhere. We scanned our bookshelves many times for a suitable work of reference that would give us the complete set of words.

We tried Gray's Anatomy, Culpeper's Colour Herbal, The Encyclopaedia Britannica, various Oxford Companions, Pear's Cyclopedia, The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, The Comparative Study Bible; all of them in vain. Two of our books did offer a glimmer of hope: Brewer's Twentieth Century Phrase & Fable had Red Ken and Red Guards, and Moyra Bremner's Enquire Within was particularly promising with lots of references to various red things, including Red Star, red spider mite and Red Worcester Apples. No 'Red Flag' though, so you see why we are so grateful.

However, the best speller in the family would like to question the second line of the last verse: 'To bare (?) it onward till we fall.'

Iirus Pursiainen-Sinnott

Clevedon, Avon

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