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General election: Why was Things Can Only Get Better playing during Rishi Sunak’s statement? | Politics News

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Rishi Sunak was barely two minutes into his general election announcement yesterday when a song began blaring near No 10.

Younger or less politically astute viewers may have assumed the tune was part of the prime minister’s efforts to inspire the nation, as he didn’t miss a beat in his speech when the music came in.

Its purpose, however, was very different.

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

The song – Things Can Only Get Better by D:Ream – was the official anthem of Sir Tony Blair‘s landslide victory for Labour in 1997.

The party adopted the track which had already had mainstream success in the year after its release in 1993. It re-entered the charts during Sir Tony’s campaign, which featured the lead singer Peter Cunnah performing the song live at several rallies.

The physicist Brian Cox was the band’s original keyboard player.

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.
Physicist Brian Cox was the original keyboard player in D:Ream

Of course, it wasn’t the Labour Party blasting the D:Ream song this time around.

It was in fact prominent anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray who sacrificed his two amplifiers in the soaking rain to get his message across to the nation.

Steve Bray at an anti-Brexit campaign in 2023. Pic: Jeff Moore/PA
Steve Bray at an anti-Brexit campaign in 2023. Pic: Jeff Moore/PA

‘I didn’t do it for Labour’

“I thought about what would be the best trolling tune if he announced the election,” Mr Bray said.

“And of course, it had to be Things Can Only Get Better. Because everybody can relate to that and the 1997 election.

“I didn’t do it for Labour. I did it because it was the top trolling song for the Conservatives.”

Irrespective of Mr Bray’s distancing from Labour, the song is still synonymous with the party decades on from Sir Tony’s campaign.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer referenced the song himself in a conference speech last year, appearing to compare Labour’s previous reign with the current Conservative one when he said: “13 years of ‘things can only get better’ versus 13 years of ‘things have only got worse’.”

Wednesday wasn’t the first time a campaigner tried to interrupt one of the prime minister’s speeches – and it’s unlikely it will be the last.

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The speakers got soaked alongside Mr Sunak on Downing Street, “and they blew anyway,” said Mr Bray, who was draped in the blue and yellow colours of the EU.

But he vowed to buy more amplifiers and continue protesting during the election campaign ahead of 4 July.

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