"Harrowdown Hill" has parts that sound like a love song ('I'm coming home, so dry your eyes'), but there's menace in the opening lines ('You will be dispensed with when you become inconvenient') and other parts sound like a grim political showdown ('there are so many of us that you can't count'). Yorke had already written part of it when he realized it was about David Kelly, a chemical-weapons inspector in Iraq who committed suicide in 2003 after being connected to a leak of British intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. The body was found in a wood near Yorke's former school in Oxfordshire.
'The government and the Ministry of Defence were implicated in his death. They were directly responsible for outing him and that put him in a position of unbearable pressure that he couldn't deal with, and they knew they were doing it and what it would do to him... I've been feeling really uncomfortable about that song lately, because it was a personal tragedy, and Dr. Kelly has a family who are still grieving. But I also felt that not to write it would perhaps have been worse.'