Wednesday, September 20, 2006


We won't talk of causes, we'll talk of effects.
We'll whip up a horror of radical sects.
(We don't want to talk about why they are vexed)
The Rules of the Game Have Changed.

We'll tell you we're listening, but we don't want to hear.
We'll trash civil liberties, ramp up the fear,
(And, if after the PM's job, go up a gear)
The Rules of the Game Have Changed

You can march in your millions, protest if you dare -
As long as you don't go near Parliament Square
(The cries of your anger might be heard by us there).
And the Rules of the Game Have Changed

If we think you're a bomber, Osama's recruit
There's no time for questions, Jean Charles, we'll just shoot,
And the ''misinformed'' officers won't get the boot.
The Rules of the Game Have Changed.

We don't condone torture - 'least, not on our lands
For ''unlawful combatants'' / ''terrorist bands''
Though some say rendition leaves blood on our hands,
But the Rules of the Game Have Changed.

Your sons and your daughters must be under your gaze
Lest their young minds be fuddled by martyrdom's haze.
(Extremism's causes? Debate's been erased.)
The Rules of the Game Have Changed.

We're watching and logging you all, can't you see?
It's for your own good, it will keep you all free.
The cameras, wiretaps, biometric ID...
The Rules of the Game Have Changed

You think this sounds scary? You're starting to cry?
Armageddon is coming! The End Times are nigh!
We're ready for Rapture, to heaven-ward fly...
The Rules of the Game Have Changed.

So bring on the horror, the fear and alarm.
We won't rest til infidels all buy the farm,
God willing. Bush said so
. 'Twil work like a charm!...
The Rules of the Game Have Changed.

And you think I'm joking? And well so you might.
You won't give up liberty without a fight?
Check our track record - we'll soon see who's right.
The Rules of the Game Have Changed.

RN 2006

UPDATE: Readers are joining in! Check the comments for more verses contributed by Pete in Dunbar! And please feel free to add your own, suggest links, set it to music... ( possibly stirringly martial?).
Maybe they can all sing it at the Labour Conference.

UPDATE! Listen to scarily stirringly martial 'THE RULES OF THE GAME HAVE CHANGED' on MP3! Big thanks to
Ecletech, Doghorse and Bo Bo D'Or.


Blogger Rachel said...

...and please feel free to suggest other links if you think you can find better ones.

September 20, 2006 10:33 pm  
Blogger Rigmor said...

Very good post!

I would say something clever and wise about all of this, but I can't, I get too furious. You got it covered well here tho!

September 20, 2006 10:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, politics and its craven practitioners are as cynical and careless with others' lives today as they ever were; the strategy is still divide and conquer, same as it ever was.

Still, as we there don't appear to be that many people who still believe the hype, then who exactly are the likes of Blair, Brown and Reid actually talking to?

September 20, 2006 11:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the sake of rhythm, can I suggest:

Just check our track record and we'll see who's right.


Just check out our track record and we'll see who's right.


And also: May I repub your poem over at my blog? Please?

September 21, 2006 12:04 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Tweaked. Repub away. Here's the lin. And thanks for all th ecomments so far, glad you like subversive doggrel.

September 21, 2006 12:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant. It should be set to music. Get a copywrite and send it off to System of a Down or Bad Religion to put it to some powerful music. Seriously. People sing along and soon know songs by heart. Then they really think about the words. It will get the idea out to a more widespread and young audience. (The young are our future leaders.)

September 21, 2006 12:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my persona of Doggerel Dave, I couldn't help adding some verses:

Why should it just be MPs who make law?
We'll streamline the process, and you can be sure
That ministers knows what's required, and what's more
The Rules of the Game have Changed.

If it's time for a crack-down, you'll have to play ball,
For now we have the power to hold you in thrall
So you'll just have to trust us, because after all
The Rules of the Game have Changed.

Imprisoned for four weeks without charge or trial -
Don't worry your DNA will stay on file -
Be glad it's not three months or longer, my child
The Rules of the Game have Changed.

And if you're acquitted don't give think that you've won
We'll be straight back to court - it will go on and on
Until we get the verdict and sentence we want -
The Rules of the Game have Changed.

September 21, 2006 1:13 am  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Great poem Rachel, it really should be published.


September 21, 2006 11:09 am  
Blogger Cheryl said...

It needs to be an anthem, its just too powerful.

Dear God I hope someone does put music to it.

September 21, 2006 4:09 pm  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Blogged you and quoted - hope thats OK!

September 21, 2006 5:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi rachel,

great poem alas i have no appropriate music to go with it.btw its dinner time here in ny and i am watching,"the secrets of harrods" on the travel channel.very interesting.

i also found out that my new york driving license is VALID in the UK !!! oh boy happy happy joy joy...after i rent the austin powers car at heathrow, a quick stop at the nearest domino's for some ay caramba fajita pizza,then down the motorway into london. my dream is to drive around either leicester or trafalgar square( did i spell that right?) while eating my pizza and yelling,"ay caramba" out the window. you and j are most welcome to join me (big grin)
hope all is well otherwise.

seth :)

September 22, 2006 12:01 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote this one a few months back.

September 22, 2006 8:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doggerel Dave again (damn, I can't get this out of my head)...

Now all of your offspring are down on our list
Their data will be quite secure, we insist
And it's all for the children, how can you resist
The Rules of the the Game have Changed

September 22, 2006 10:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working on some music for this, Rachel. I'm away to my remote Dorset caravan for the weekend with my guitar. Back Monday, expect good things.

September 22, 2006 12:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent poem - I agree about getting it put to music.

Well done!

September 22, 2006 3:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rules changed:
Of course not. Dream on......

September 22, 2006 3:03 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

What rules? What game?
To tell us we're fools
To tell us we're stupid
And need lots more rules

September 22, 2006 3:47 pm  
Blogger Sabretache said...

Seth - 23.01

You can't drive around either Leicester Sq or Trafalgar Sq anymore so dream on. Also, drive anywhere eating a pizza - let alone shouting out the window while you're eating it - and you're likely to get yourself arrested in short order. The cops over here have their priorities and persecuting the poor bloody motorist for anything and everything is top among them - less dangerous than catching criminals and very beneficial to statistics dontcha know?

Rachael - cracking piece; says it all.

September 22, 2006 4:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a minute. It's easy to criticize leaders, but they are only human. It also seems to be human nature to become disenchanted with the leaders (even if we voted for them ourselves! - I am really embarrassed by this, but I was sick of Clinton's sexual antics, and I thought Gore was a dimwit, so I actually voted for Bush the first time around...Please don't judge, for I now see the error of my ways...) They (leaders) become easy targets for ridicule, disdain, mistrust, etc. On the flipside of that coin, as Marx insightfully pointed out, many ordinary folk who start out as grass-roots activists with good intentions, rise in political power, which in turn corrupts them, and they forget all the ideals they were originally fighting for. They no longer care for the people they represent, the people they themselves came from, and are only interested in keeping the power they have gained. Politics is a tricky game. Keeping a country safe is even trickier, with people concerned with civil liberties (and rightly so), Big Brother type government, political correctness and racial profiling, while innocent people are getting blown up in subways and trains. What are they to do? How can they keep people safe? Is there a way of doing so without infringing on innocent peoples' freedom? How can they expect freedom and safety at the same time? These are valid questions. It's a dilema...OK, it's after 5pm, and I've been at my computer way too long!

September 23, 2006 1:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How can they expect freedom and safety at the same time? These are valid questions."

The two are not a trade off. There is no such thing as absolute safety - never has been and never will. When society is mature enough to recognise that, we might see a little more reason being applied as opposed to knee-jerk reactionary authoritarianism.

The only way to deal with the blackmail of terrorism is belligerent refusal to cooperate - and that means carrying on as normal, refusing to change our ways and not giving up our freedoms.

Harsh as it may sound, some may be casualties as a consequence. Living is a risky business. It's time we accepted this. Or do we live in gilded cages?

September 23, 2006 9:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Odd as this may seem, I think one of the reasons for not having a 7/7 inquiry is that it might reveal that the threat to the UK from terrorism isn't that bad. That another 7/7 is quite unlikely.

September 23, 2006 10:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We used to be Red, but now we're men in black,
You thought Mosley was history? Not so guys, he's back.
We're moving our offices to Cable Street
New Britain's New Labour with jack-booted feet.

Campbell's our Goebbels and Reid is our Himmler,
Blunkett's our Goering (or something quite similar)
We're Gordon Brown's brownshirts, quite free from remorse,
What you won't give us freely, we'll take with brute force.

September 23, 2006 12:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi sabretche,

if thats what the british authorities are pre-occupied with these days,they sure have their priorities messed up.

i had no clue that both squares are now pedestrian-only - see how long its been since ive been to merry old london !!!

September 23, 2006 8:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I think we've reached the Godwin point now, but what the hell... following on from Tom Paine:

When the shit hits the fan, we'll have no sense of shame -
We'll ensure that you think someone else is to blame.
The lies are prepared, all that's left is to choose
The group that will play out the part of the Jews.

September 23, 2006 8:58 pm  
Blogger tony said...

Hi Rachel
Best Wishes

September 24, 2006 2:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant versification, Rachel: thank you! A triumph to achieve flawless metre and rhythms, and only two slightly dodgy rhymes. The later verse offerings in Comments are also good, but no match for your original. The multiplicity of relevant hyperlinks, including different ones for many of the identical (or almost identical) punchlines, is a fantastic achievement. Unfortunately that will be lost if someone reproduces your master-work in the print or (other) electronic media.

Special hear-hears to the comments by Maria and (especially) Longrider. All this fully deserves its place in this week's Britblog of the week selection on Tim Worstall's blog.


September 24, 2006 3:58 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks everyone, it was great to have so many comments and a couple of offers of setting to music, which is very exciting!

September 24, 2006 9:41 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Rachel, this is fantastic. Can't wait to listen to it.

October 02, 2006 12:18 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

..just a little poem about dragons..

The War on Mirror

the noble knights in armour
bravely battling dangerous dragons
of their own imagination

October 13, 2006 3:54 am  

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