Has Corbyn been endorsed by the right half of UB40?

The famously divided band have offered to share a stage with the Labour leader at a press conference in London – and the irony has not been lost on anyone

Name: UB40.

Age: 38.

Appearance(s): Worcester County Cricket Club on Saturday, followed by Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester, Edinburgh, Carlisle …

Wow. Is it some kind of political campaign? Sort of.

Why “sort of”? It’s actually the reggae band from Birmingham, but UB40 have just come out in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership.

Oh, that UB40. They’re still going? Very much so. They’ve been going since 1978, have sold 70m records worldwide and had more than 50 songs in the UK singles chart, including No 1 Red, Red Wine. There’s even a bronze plaque commemorating the site of their first gig at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, south Birmingham.

Is Corbyn grateful for their support? He is indeed. “I am delighted to receive the endorsement of UB40, one of the most successful British reggae acts of all time,” he said.

I can see how encouraging it must be to have a famous band like that 100% united behind you. Hmm.

Hmm, did you say? To be frank, UB40 cannot technically be 100% united behind anything.

Why not? Because there are, effectively, two UB40s.

How could something like this happen? Back in 2008, lead singer Ali Campbell left the band amid accusations of mismanagement. His brother, Duncan, took over on vocals, and later Ali and two other disgruntled band members got together to form an outfit that now tours as “UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue”.

All water under the bridge now, I imagine. I’m afraid not. Legal disputes over the rights to the name continue to this day, and the three Campbell brothers (Robin remains in the first band, with Duncan) have not spoken in years.

Has Corbyn got the support of the right UB40? Depends on who you ask. Ali Campbell commonly refers to the JC-supporting incarnation as “the dark side”.

Is the irony of Corbyn being endorsed by a band which is itself riven by internecine strife lost on any other 80s pop stalwarts? Not on Mick Hucknall, who tweeted: “Jeremy Corbyn has much in common with UB40. They are currently as divided as his Labour party.”

Do say: “Comrades, please welcome to the conference stage a band still legally entitled to call itself UB40.”

Don’t say: “I remember when a UB40 was a popular unemployment benefit form.”

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