Written by Trewley Lean
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Topics: Gordon Brown

Saturday, 26 January 2008

image for Gordon Brown blamed for splitting UB40 after 30 years
The last remaining unemployment benefit

Ali Campbell has dismissed talk of artistic differences being cause of his departure from veteran rock band UB40, and says it's all the fault of policy changes under New Labour.

"First they altered the codes on all the official sign-on forms, and renamed Unemployment Benefit as Jobseeker's Allowance, so no-one could remember what a UB40 was," the velvet-voiced singer complained. "Then they systematically scrapped all the other names and numbers from the mass unemployment era, so songs with classic lyrics about the DHSS, YOPs and Yetis became incomprehensible to today's listeners."

"They even allowed Stephen Spielberg to make a film about ET, where not once did we see the obviously jobless little alien go through the humiliation of a day's Employment Training," the ranting reggae legend rambled on. "Spielberg should have been punished for that, I reckon - by directing at least six Labour party political broadcasts, or remaking Jaws with John Prescott in the title role."

"Then, to add insult to Ian Dury, Labour went and got rid of unemployment, so groups like ours were deprived of our original core audience," Campbell went on - ending by extending his condemnation to Extremely Old Labour, by claiming that Tony Benn's speeches plagiarise the group's Number One hit Red, Red Whine.

But pop historian Paul Ganjaqueasy says Campbell's real complaint against New Labour was the mix-up when it called him in to be its new Director of Communications after the 1997 election win.

"Ali Campbell was the obvious choice - he'd already communicated with millions of fans about sensitive social and political issues, and his band was so big at the time, its record sales could have paid Peter Hain's campaign expenses for at least three days," drawled Ganjaqueasy on the line from his mid-Atlantic accent.

"But due to a mix-up over the mouthprints on Tony Blair's boots, the job went to Alastair Campbell - whose only musical achievement had been providing the percussion for the Conference rendition of The Red Flag by knocking political editors' heads together. Making him practically the only Labour Party bigwig with an even less distinguished rock career than the prime minister's own."

Ali Campbell has confirmed he will now embark on a solo career, and denied rumours that he's signed a transfer deal to join equally ancient rock band 10CC. "They're too busy suing Renault for upping their engine size to 1.5 litres," said the ghost of John Peel.

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