"Electioneering" as written by and Thomas Edward/greenwood Yorke....
I will stop
I will stop at nothing
Say the right things
When electioneering
I trust I can rely on your vote

When I go forwards, you go backwards
And somewhere we will meet
When I go forwards, you go backwards
And somewhere we will meet
Ha, ha, ha

Riot shields
Voodoo economics
It's life, it's life
It's just business
Cattle prods and the I.M.F.
I trust I can rely on your vote

When I go forwards, you go backwards
And somewhere we will meet
When I go forwards, you go backwards
And somewhere we will meet

Lyrics submitted by piesupreme

"Electioneering" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Electioneering song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI know no one's reading this, but here I go anyway:

    This song has some of the coolest lyrics ever: "When I go forwards/You go backwards/And somewhere we will meet." It's a play on words: as the politician "goes forwards" - gains more power - the people "go backwards" - lose control and power - and because the politician is relentlessly electioneering, he will meet each person somewhere along the way. This might be my favorite song on "OK Computer." Genius.
    cleverhandleon June 15, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General Comment"cattle prods and the IMF" comments on the Fund's monetary loans to third world countries. The IMF loans millions of dollars to small, underdeveloped states. This would be a nice, humanitarian gesture - if it wasn't for the ridiculous terms of the loans. That country now has no control over their economy, and the IMF ensures that the currency is weakned, that almost all trade is of very little benefit to the small 3rd world country. In essence, the poor 3rd world country is now poorer, and indebted to the IMF, who have given them no opportunities to improve their situation. The regulations concerning the loans are commonly referred to as "The Golden Straitjacket".

    The cattle prods, therefore, refer to the way in which poor countries are treated by large, multinational organisations. I think the "riot shields" are referring to the uprising of the people...

    The "I trust I can rely on your vote" bit seems to be in irony, for Thom doesn't trust in those leading his country.

    And, Jek21, 'electioneering' is the act of canvassing for votes...

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this Radiohead's first attempt at a political song?
    deenaon January 15, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI'm surprised no one has really picked up on the "i go forwards, you go backwards, and somewhere we will meet" line. I agree with most of you that the politician is going forwards, and the general public is goin backwards in many aspects. But the "somewhere we will meet" I think has to do with neo-conservative "trickle down" economics, also called "voodoo economics" (also mentioned the song). For those who don't know, "trickle down" economics are generally defined by large tax cuts for the rich and the overall "purging" of big government spending. The idea behind this, in the simplest terms, is that tax cuts for the upper brackets helps to stimulate the economy, which eventually "trickles down" to the lower classes through state-wide prosperity. These Supply-side economics were championed by the Reagan government during the 1980s, and duplicated by similar thinking governments around the world including Margaret Thatcher's Tories in the UK. Many opponents argue that the "trickle down" is never felt in the lower brackets and although the economy may recover and thrive, the majority of citizens see no real prosperity, and are instead faced with rising cost of living and lack of government-sponsored social programs due to the massive trimming of the bureaucracy. I believe the the "somewhere we will meet" line refers to the idea trumpeted by conservative politicians who promise voters that they will eventually meet each other in terms of prosperity, even though the whole idea of one person going forwards and the other going backwards and eventually meeting is far-fetched. This is the metaphor for Radiohead's opinion of "trickle-down" economics.
    IvoKenton May 13, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe whole idea of one thing going forwards while another goes backwards is also shown in johnnys guitar solo. It plays it once, then suddenly does it again backwards all the way back up...just an idea...
    Davetheinvincibleon November 18, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdefinitely my favorite song on ok computer. in my opinion one of the best political songs ever made, especially because it was written so artfully that it could be pulled off with NO swearing, i have no objection to swearing in songs and no love for censorship but so many "political" songs of late are nothing but strands of words that have to be edited out when they get played on the radio. one of the saddest things i ever heard was some kids practicing a RATM song for a school talent show, they were actually playing pretty well but when they got to the end the singer had to yell "SUCK you, i wont do what you tell me!" into the microphone, even those who dont know what the lyric is supposed to be should be able to figure out what its really supposed to be (change one letter in SUCK). i wanted to go up to them and ask with a big sarcastic smile: "did you tell them to go "fudge" themselves when the administrators told you that your song needed to be edited?"
    dnspiral9on July 23, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about how politicians manipulate the public, almost indirectly "buying" their votes... Maybe.
    rx2kONEon August 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSounds like his opinion is that special interests' influence on politics is a form of electioneering. Maybe he has a point.
    rynoxon November 26, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a Master piece. this is my favorite part: I go Forward, you go backwards, i see it as people going forward to vote, and in the end the politician goes back on their promises.
    Hobo-Dragonon August 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song has sick cowbell.
    Willboeon October 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThe chorus in this line is brilliant, and ties in with the mention of voodoo economics. “I move forwards, you move backwards, and somewhere we will meet”. Sound familiar? “Trust me, give your money to the rich to propel them forwards into unprecedented amounts of wealth and power, you guys can fall behind into poverty and powerlessness, and..umm....uhh, yeah we’ll meet somewhere in the middle...ha ha!” As relevant today as ever. Anyone know what Thom says after "voodoo ecomonics", though? It sounds something like "I know" or "I don't" twice, but I can't make it out and it's never included in the lyrics when looking them up.
    Fat-Elvison October 04, 2011   Link

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