Blur’s drummer Dave Rowntree is now a Labour MP

*Not* on your 2024 bingo card? The drummer from Blur getting into politics. 

Getting into politics isn’t what usually follows a long ol’ stint in a legendary Britpop band, but apparently Dave Rowntree is doing things a little differently. Yesterday it was announced that the Blur drummer will stand as a Labour candidate in Mid Sussex at the next general election. Not only is it a career pivot for Rowntree, but if Mid Sussex does turn red, it will be a landmark moment politically: up to this point, it’s been a conservative constituency, led by Winston Churchill’s grandson for more than twenty years. “The Tories have run out of ideas, and the Lib Dems have run out of steam. I’m running for parliament to provide the energy and vision the area so desperately needs” Rowntree said in a statement given to The Guardian.

Though it’s a landmark moment in Britpop history, it’s safe to say that Rowntree has been laying the foundations for this one for a long while. Rowntree is a keen activist, and has been a supporter of the Labour Party since becoming a member in 2002. In 2007, 2008 and 2011 he fought for other seats held by Conservative MPs, and in 2017 Rowntree was elected as county councillor for the University ward in Norwich.

This isn’t, however, the first time that Rowntree has dipped his toe into careers worlds away from music. During a hiatus from Blur in 2006, Rowntree trained as a solicitor, and in the late 90s he had what can only be described as a “space phase”. This culminated in something called the “Beagle 2 Mars mission”, where a lander was sent to Mars equipped with a Blur song that would be beamed back to Earth if it landed successfully… The Beagle 2 lost contact with Earth, but was spotted on Mars’ surface ten years later.

Whether Rowntree’s career in politics sticks or not, his presence in the party might be just want it needs. Keir Starmer’s rendition of Labour has come under fire for rampant transphobia and, more recently, failing to take a convincing stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

WriterAmber Rawlings
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