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Of the song's meaning, Costello himself has stated: "I made my first trip to Belfast in 1978 and saw mere boys walking around in battle dress with automatic weapons. They were no longer just on the evening news. These snapshot experiences exploded into visions of mercenaries and imperial armies around the world. The song was based on the premise 'they always get a working class boy to do the killing'. I don't know who said that; maybe it was me, but it seems to be true nonetheless. I pretty much had the song sketched out on the plane back to London." As well as The Troubles the song alludes to several other "trouble spots" around the world at the time including South Africa, Palestine, and "Checkpoint Charlie". It has been suggested that the events in Belfast prompted Costello to write this "anti-occupation anthem".
Originally posted by fooks
reply to post by BrianDamage
so the UK is really still practicing colonialism?