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D:Ream ban Labour from using Things Can Only Get Better in election campaign | Politics News

The pop band behind New Labour’s 1997 anthem Things Can Only Get Better has banned Sir Keir Starmer from using the song in the election.

D:Ream’s founding members Alan Mackenzie and Peter Cunnah said they were dismayed to hear their number one hit play through a loudspeaker as Rishi Sunak announced he was calling a general election on 4 July.

The pair told LBC their first thought was: “Not again.”

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Things Can Only Get Better started blaring around two minutes into the PM’s speech

“The fact that it’s gone back to a political thing, I find disturbing. I was thinking, can we get on with our lives? But now it’s come back,” Cunnah said, speaking from his recording studio at home in Donegal.

“You question, are we just some sort of protest song on a speaker down at the end of a street? It’s like some very odd piece of gravity that you just can’t escape.”

But Sir Keir brushed off the snub, telling LBC: “Well, look, we’re not in 1997. We’re in 2024.

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“The choice before the country is absolutely stark. We’ve had now 14 years of chaos and division. And if the Tories get back in there’s just going to be more of the same.

“We can turn the page, we can start anew, rebuild our country with Labour. And we will have a song for that moment if we’re privileged enough to come in to serve.”

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‘I don’t think politics and music should be linked’

The band also expressed regret over letting Sir Tony Blair use their track during his election campaign in 1997, saying they were accused of “having blood on their hands” after the UK got involved with the war in Iraq.

“I remember clearly, there was this wonderful sea change, and the nation had this feeling that there was a need for change,” Cunnah said.

“Everyone was really behind it and giving Labour the benefit of that doubt. But after the war, I became politically homeless.”

Mackenzie, who spoke to LBC from his home in the Midlands, said: “I don’t think politics and music should be linked.

“It’s happened to a lot of other bands as well in America and here because songs get sort of intrinsically linked to something, it can really affect it in a negative way.

“I mean, I’ll be voting to get the Tories out, but I don’t really want the song to be linked to that.”

‘Our songs and politics, never again’

Asked what they would say if Sir Keir requested to use one of their songs, Mackenzie said: “There’s no way – our songs and politics, never again.”

“I’ve learned the hard way. No, no, no,” Cunnah agreed.

“This is a change of guard, I don’t see this as an election. It’s just a change of guard, someone handing the baton on.”

Professor Brian Cox arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London, to appear on the BBC One current affairs programme, Sunday Morning. Picture date: Sunday May 22, 2022.
Image:
Physicist Brian Cox was the original keyboard player in D:Ream

D:Ream’s original line-up also included Professor Brian Cox, but the group split up shortly after New Labour’s 1997 victory.

Cunnah and Mackenzie reunited in 2008 and are preparing to perform at Glastonbury this summer.

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