D:Ream have banned Keir Starmer from using their 1993 New Labour anthem ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ in his election campaign.

The song enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after it was played through a loudspeaker by protester Steve Bray, with the aim of drowning out Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he called a surprise General Election for July 4. Within 24 hours, the song had gone viral on social media and entered the iTunes Top 10.

The Northern Irish band have previously said that they never enjoyed ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ having a political association.

“My first reaction was ‘not again, please let me move on’,” singer Peter Cunnah told NME. “We all wanted that change in ’97, that sense of positivity. After doing the Good Friday Agreement, [Blair] looked like he was the great, great saviour. And then he sexed up the document and went to war in Iraq, and we were standing going ‘not in our name’. Then you get accused of having blood on your hands.”


In an interview with LBC, his bandmate Al Mackenzie reiterated that sentiment. “I don’t think politics and music should be linked,” he said [via SkyNews].

“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.”

When asked what they’d say if Starmer 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 added. “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.”


In response, Starmer said he wasn’t especially bothered by D:Ream’s call for their song to be kept out of politics. “Well, look, we’re not in 1997. We’re in 2024,” he told LBC. 

“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.”

Since the song’s resurgence in popularity, D:Ream have had multiple offers of shows, including an appearance at Glastonbury and a possible headline show on July 4.

“The phone starts ringing as if you’ve been forgotten men,” Cunnah told NME. “It’s getting us gigs, and from that point of view it’s a love-hate relationship [with the song]. But when we do perform live, it brings the house down. It’s great to have such a joyful track.”

Mackenzie continued: “We’re not going to do any political things on that night. If we get a gig that night it’ll just be gig. We’re just assuming Labour are going to win this election by the way. Everyone’s just like, ‘Oh, it’s a shoo in’. Politics have a funny way of changing around in just a few hours. If we do an election party for Labour and suddenly the Tories win, we’d look really stupid.”

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