You had something to hide
Should have hidden it, shouldn't you
Now you're not satisfied
With what you're being put through

It's just time to pay the price
For not listening to advice
And deciding in your youth
On the policy of truth

Things could be so different now
It used to be so civilised
You will always wonder how
It could have been if you'd only lied

It's too late to change events
It's time to face the consequence
For delivering the proof
In the policy of truth

Never again
Is what you swore
The time before
Never again
Is what you swore
The time before

Now you're standing there tongue tied
You'd better learn your lesson well
Hide what you have to hide
And tell what you have to tell
You'll see your problems multiplied
If you continually decide
To faithfully pursue
The policy of truth

Never again
Is what you swore
The time before

Lyrics submitted by shut

Policy Of Truth song meanings
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  • +23
    Song Meaning

    To sum the song up... we have to live with whatever we reveal about ourselves, whether it is lie or truth. So choose wisely what you reveal.

    The first verse says it all.

    theone734on June 23, 2011   Link
  • +11
    General Comment

    'Truth' makes fun of 'Honesty is the best policy'. Quite simply, it isn't. And no one is completely honest. Excuses and exceptions are irrelevant - 'To spare someone's feeling'. No Mr.& Mrs. Morals-Hypocrite. We are all selfishly dishonest nearly every day and often times it saves OUR asses. We all know this; we all do it.... and then have the gall to ask for a mate who is completely honest. Depeche Mode is simply stating something that's dawned on all of us at numerous points in our lives when we 'bought' the going statement about honest/policy, and that is, "I should've lied". Might not make you feel good to admit, but it can sometimes to tell a lie. Besides, it's not the responsibility of truth to make anyone feel good. I rest.

    proteuson June 27, 2005   Link
  • +10
    General Comment

    I think this song is more general and philosophical, and deals with the ideal of "always tell the truth".

    It's about an honest person who is very sincere, and beleives that telling the truth is the right thing to do, IN ANY SITUATION. However, this ideal brings troubles to this person, at times...

    It is possible that Martin wrote this song about Dave Gahan, which is known for his (over-) sincerity, mostly in public interview. Something that the other band members (including Martin) didn't like at times...

    So, what's the message? To be a liar? no... The message is actually a compromise: "Hide what you have to hide, and tell what you have to tell".

    AgentOrenon March 12, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    this song really is about the need to lie because being truthful can cause problems for you. we all have things we need to hide and keep to ourselves and revealing those things could get you hurt.

    zee deveel 17on September 21, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    This song is about how it's not always the best policy to tell the truth. Some things are better left unsaid or even deceived. But we are told that "honesty is the best policy" "the truth shall set you free. This is the "Policy of Truth" But this in reality is not always the case. And sometimes the truth can cause more damage than bring about a good consequence. Similarly to the lyrics of -Careless Whispers. "To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind. There's no comfort in the truth, pain is all you'll find".

    MaxPr1meon April 12, 2013   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    To me this song reflects the realizations many outsiders face when they become adults and have to take responsibilites for their lives, afterall. They realize that the decisions they've made in their youths haven't been the wisest ones, e.g. not taking school seriously, not connecting with the rest of school mates, feeling different. Not obeying to authority or distrusting it, at least. They are in a form rebels and don't want to compromise, they don't believe society and its norms does them any good. There is a gap between them and the rest they feel very strongly. (it doesn't matter how you act that knowledge out, whether you're a punk or a lonely outsider) Those people thus decide for ''the policy of truth'', deciding for their own way of living instead of the one prescribed by society and norms. I think those people often have the hope that things may be different once they're adults, that the world is going to be more like they want it to be.

    But once they become adults they realize that the way they've decided in early years may have been wrong, that it causes troubles now that they really need to take their lives into their own hands, that they can't go on their whole life living in their bubbles, that the world hasn't changed afterall, that it's still the same principles ruling your life.

    Life is about compromising afterall. And it's a bitter realization.

    Cracks start to appear and insecurities start to surface especially if they see other people they may have visited school with leading successful lives. They start feeling like massive failures and start questioning the meaning of life.
    To me, Policy of Truth deals with the hardships of being an outcast or an individual who tries to fit in and be responsible for his/her own life.

    gamonboziaon March 27, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Actually HungBeachBoy was close. When Depeche Mode started out Vincent Clarke was a member of the band. He came out of the closet and the rest of the guys didn't want him to. He went on to form Yaz and then Erasure. Depeche is just saying maybe if he didn't tell the world he was gay, they would be more successful like Depeche Mode was. This is kind of criticism of Vincent Clarke by Depeche Mode.

    chromiumson March 05, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    For me the song is about a gay man coming out when he was young and having to deal with the consequences of everyone knowing he was gay and the difficulty he encountered ("satisfied With what you're being put through") by "delivering the proof" of his orientation when he "should've hidden it". But once that genie is out of the bottle there is no putting it back ("It's too late to change events It's time to face the consequence"). I think they're saying he should have kept his secrets secret and not reveal to the world what they don't need to know ("Hide what you have to hide And tell what you have to tell")

    HungBeachBoyon May 04, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    I did not believe it at first, but this wonderful song uses a quote from a military officer, individualist, unitarian, anarchist in the 1800's.

    Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger. The incredibly talented Depeche Mode wrote policy of truth and -- as so often happens -- the best art is open to many different interpretations.....

    Here is the quote:

    Hide what you have to hide, And tell what you have to tell. You'll see your problems multiplied If you continually decide To faithfully pursue The policy of truth.

    -- William Batchelder Greene

    Now, I think many of the modern interpretations are SPOT ON especially about "coming out of the closet". But, one of the meanings could come from further writings of William Batchelder Greene, who was a proponent of mutual banking (free banking).

    Here he describes the consequences of our financial systems of fiat and debt.

    The existing organization of credit is the daughter of hard money, begotten upon it incestuously by that insufficiency of circulating medium which results from laws making specie the sole legal tender. The immediate consequences of confused credit are want of confidence, loss of time, commercial frauds, fruitless and repeated applications for payment, complicated with irregular and ruinous expanses. The ultimate consequences are compositions, bad debts, expensive accommodation-loans, law-suits, insolvency, bankruptcy, separation of classes, hostility, hunger, extravagance, distress, riots, civil war, and, finally, revolution. The natural consequences of mutual banking are, first of all, the creation of order, and the definitive establishment of due organization in the social body, and, ultimately, the cure of all the evils. which flow from the present incoherence and disruption in the relations of production and commerce. (The Radical Deficiency of the Existing Circulating Medium 1857).

    Deep thoughts. libertarian thoughts. People who seek more government regulations for a system bought and paid for by bankers.... well, they must not realized that the bankers and politicians are in it together. Chaos is what they prefer. Further government regulations simply compound the confusion.

    I read only a little bit more about him. And this is one of his other quotes I like:

    “Life is a waste of woes, And Death a river deep, That ever onward flows, Troubled, yet asleep.”

    — William Batchelder Greene

    txnuke1201on August 15, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This is a truly POWERFUL and life changing song!! When you hear it for the 1st time you will never look at the world the same way again. Musically it is incredibly sinister and mysterious, lyrically it points to the fact that the world revolves around honest and that being truthful all the time can really get you hurt.

    Sozlukon December 22, 2004   Link

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