The earth is not dying. It is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses.

Utah Philips (1935-2008)

May Be Not!

The British Election is just days away. Voters will get to decide whether they continue to accept the neoliberalism that began with Reagan and Thatcher in the 70's or turn against it. This song outlines some of the ramifications at stake. The video is based upon the old word game of finding words within words:

25th May 2017

The pack contains a video, songstrips and a lyric sheet. The video was made shortly after the Manchester Arena Bombing May 22, 2017 and the introduction reflects this. Here's the video:


Dismantle Dismay Now!

Are you for austerity?
May be May be
Want less tax for the wealthy?
May be May be
Want to sell off the NHS?
Make regular folks do with less?
Normalise depression and distress
May be may be

Are you for puny pensions?
May be May be
Want to erode worker protections?
May be May be
Are you for Selective Education?
Are you for a two tier Nation?
Inequality and exploitation?
May be, May be

Are you for World War Three?
May be, May be
Want to see the end of liberty?
May Be May Be
Are you for the Warfare State?
Want a world of fear and hate?
Travel bans and padlocked gates?
May Be May Be

May! Be not!
May! Be still!
May! Be quiet!
You're just a shill!

Mayday! The many can see
Mayday! The many are free!
Mayday! Get out of our way!
Hey May! You've had your day!
Hey May! You've had your day!
Hey May! You've had your day!
Your day

Show Lyrics

Suggested lesson steps:

Start with the songstrips as this will give students a chance to familiarise themselves with any new vocabulary. This way when they look at the video and search for words they will know more about what they are looking for.

Songstrips: With small classes shuffle the strips and give one to each student. Have the students read each line in turn and explain any unknown words. Repeat the process until all the strips have been given out. With large classes either use multiple sets of song strips and divide the students into group of 4-6 or just distribute the strips and have the students take turns reading them out and asking about unknown words. In any event take some time to notice potential rhyming words.

Listen: listen to the song. Students working in small groups can assemble the song on the tabletop using the strips. Play the song more than once if necessary. If every student has just one strip they can attempt to line up physically in order as the song is played.

Handout: Give the students the handout and go through the example of how to find words. Work through the four puzzles. The answers are: stab, troll, hat and test.

Watch: watch the video and afterwards ask the students what words they saw. Then the students can try to find as many words as they can and write them down in the box provided.


It may be worth pausing the video after the Gandhi quote before the song proper begins and discuss the meaning of the introduction. Do the students know where an eye for an eye comes from? Can they think of any other quotes, sayings or such about peace and violence? Do they think weregeld is better than blood revenge etc.

If you use the video or song please click the comment button and let me know how it goes.