'Once a rebel, always a rebel. You can’t help being one. You can’t deny that. And it’s best to be a rebel so as to show ‘em it don’t pay to try to do you down. Factories and labour exchanges and insurance offices keep us alive and kicking - so they say - but they’re booby-traps and will suck you under like sinking-sands if you aren’t careful. Factories sweat you to death, labour exchanges talk you to death, insurance and income tax offices milk money from your wage packets and rob you to death. And if you’re still left with a tiny bit of life in your guts after all this boggering about, the army calls you up and you get shot to death. And if you’re clever enough to stay out of the army you get bombed to death. Ay, by God, it’s a hard life if you don’t weaken, if you don’t stop that bastard government from grinding your face in the muck, though there ain’t much you can do about it unless you start making dynamite to blow their four-eyed clocks to bits.
They shout at you from soapboxes: 'Vote for me, and this and that,’ but it amounts to the same in the end whatever you vote for because it means a government that puts stamps all over your phizzog until you can’t see a hand before you, and what’s more makes you buy 'em so’s they can keep on doing it. They’ve got you by the guts, by backbone and skull, until they think you’ll come whenever they whistle.
But listen, this lathe is my everlasting pal because it gets me thinking, and that’s their big mistake because I know I’m not the only one. One day they’ll bark and we won’t run into a pen like sheep. One day they’ll flash their lamps and clap their hands and say: 'Come on, lads. Line-up and get your money. We won’t let you starve.’ But maybe some of us will want to starve, and that’ll be where the trouble’ll start.'
— Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Alan Sillitoe