NME: Peter Mandelson is planning to cut file-sharers off the net, is this an attack on human rights?
Nicky: "I'm big fan of Peter Mandelson. Lots of people dislike him, but he's the only one who's desperate for Labour to stay in power by doing something."
So you're anti-file-sharing then?
"I'm on Lily Allen's side. Well, to be honest, I'm just against anything [Radiohead's] Ed O'Brien stands for. I don't even care what's the cause! I'm so intrinsically opposed to that man, so I'll go with Mandy and Lily on that one!"
"I've been saying this for a while. When 'OK Computer' was selling all the records, they didn't moan then about selling records. They only took risks afterwards. And there's nothing worse than someone who's come from boarding school like Ed O'Brien, who's minted, saying to young bands, 'You're not allowed to make the money that I made.' And it's also driven bands to have to do adverts and syncs. I'm quite snobbish about that, but I don't blame young bands for doing it because how else are they going to make any fucking money? And Ed O'Brien and those [in the Featured Artists Coalition], they don't seem to care about all the record shops closing. They don't care about all the unemployment that file-sharing causes, because it certainly doesn't create employment."
So sticking with Mandy, but do you think a Conservative government next year is now inevitable?
"As a political realist, I'm not feeling, 'Oh shit, the world's going to end, because it's just so obvious. Half of it's down to incompetence and half of it's down to political cycles. There's still a slim chance if the economy really turns round - because I do think 'It's all about the economy, stupid' when push comes to shove. There might be that 'safe pair of hands' attitude. But I think realistically the best Labour can hope for is the Tories having a really small majority, even a hung parliament. I'm not happy about it and I think Labour have missed a massive chance. They've been so defensive and incompetent over the last two years, it kind of makes me feel like they've given up on the party just because things have gone wrong. That's a really poor excuse. If you go down, you've got to go down fighting."
What's next for Manic Street Preachers, then?
"We've got loads of ideas, we've got lots of bits and bobs flying round. And I think it's there for us; I just think there's no fucker left that fills the gap that we fill. It will be undoubtedly commercial. We can't make another 'Journal..., that's dictated by Richey's lyrics. They make us sound like a different band and my lyrics don't, there's no point in me trying. But I think we can make a record that fills the gap for a classic rock band that just doesn't fucking exist in the UK anymore."
Are you down to specifics yet?
"We've blocked off November and December to start. I've got fucking tons of lyrics because I didn't write any for Journal...'. James has written a killer tune that's like 'Maggie May'! There's a song called 'Golden Platitudes' which we all like. The album title is 'It's Not War, Just The End Of Love'."
What does that mean?
"It just sound like a good Manics title. It's almost like we're still the same people. It's a better way than saying, 'We fucking hate everyone, it's war!'"