Originally written about the struggles of the Irish being dominated by English lords taking their land to fatten cattle for the folks at home. Sid rewrote the song to reflect on the current overgrazing issues where in parts of the country the industry is held up by (at the time of writing) EU subsidies. This preserves a way of life for people that have grazed the hills for generations but at what cost for biodiversity and stable food growing systems?
George Monbiot writes perhaps harshly but with great logic about the issue in his article 'Sheepwrecked' here.
The Grazier Tribe (Originally Roud 2998)
Oh, ye toilers of this nation I hope you will draw near,
A new and true narration I mean to let you hear,
It’s for your information my pen I take in hand
To try describe a grazier tribe that now infests this land
This grazier clan has overran your country so fair,
Enough to make the angels weep or drive you to despair;
The herd that caused the lords to steal and tether what was free.
Now calls the lot to shoot the pot and live by subsidy
Here’s to the small hill farmer the blame is not within,
But on such scale it does prevail to leave a desert scene;
You men in name have you no shame to see this beauteous land,
Made uniform one giant lawn where oak and thorn did stand.
And you sons of honest labour if ever you'd be free,
Now take your stand upon the land and strike for liberty;
The price of oil’s not set to fall, but rise until it’s gone,
So work the soil with sweat and toil and sing your harvest song.
So ye valiant sons of labour wherever you are found,
To seek a home you need not roam but quietly look around;
There may be seen fine meadows green and bullocks sleek and grand,
Just get your pole and take a stroll and clear them from the land.
And if Bob be there to fume and swear and threaten you with jail,
Its for your good behaviour you surely will find bail;
But still you'll find good friends behind to cheer you in your woe,
Then you'll be so grand with house and land that yourself you will not know.
Trad. Rewritten by Sid Goldsmith