In my song book I have this down as "Trad English". How's about that for a cop out?
Does anyone know any more about its origins?
The only thing I can find in searching the web is the view that "the verse about the MP ... suggests that it dates from the late 19th or early 20th century, as an employed person in a rural area — which the singer evidently is — would almost certainly not have had a vote before the 3rd Reform Act of 1884 at the earliest and, maybe, not until 1918." See Triangle Music.
Thanks for any help.
"... it tells its own tale!"