“On the news, a nation mourns you,
Unknown Soldier, count the cost.
For a second, you’ll be famous
but labelled ‘posthumous’…”
The song refers explicitly to The Troubles in Northern Ireland, then at their height, but the poignant, hard-hitting lyrics could just as easily refer to any conflict and the young, aimless, working-class men on both sides who end up as pawns, manipulated and sacrificed by faceless bureaucrats in a deadly, never-ending game.
Here is a performance on BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test, dating from 1983:
Here is a better-quality version, from the Recital Of The Scriptlive concert video that was filmed at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on April 18, 1983, but it’s been split into two parts due to the 10-minute restriction on length of YouTube videos: