Great Britain

Van Morrison criticises 'fascist bullies' in anti-lockdown Covid songs

Van Morrison has described the British government as “fascist bullies disturbing our peace” in one of three new tracks he has written to protest against safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

On No More Lockdown, Morrison sings:

“No more lockdown / No more government overreach / No more fascist bullies / Disturbing our peace …

No more taking of our freedom / And our God-given rights / Pretending it’s for our safety / When it’s really to enslave …”

The song also condemns “celebrities telling us what we’re supposed to feel”, although the 75-year-old Northern Irish songwriter denied doing this himself.

“I’m not telling people what to do or think,” he said in a statement. “The government is doing a great job of that already. It’s about freedom of choice. I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.”

No More Lockdown also indicts “Imperial College scientists making up crooked facts”, presumably in reference to the former government scientific adviser Prof Neil Ferguson. In June, Ferguson said 20,000 deaths could have been prevented had the government imposed a national lockdown a week earlier than it eventually did on 23 March. In the UK, 41,705 people are known to have died of the virus.

Another track, As I Walked Out, references a post on the UK government’s website that states: “Covid-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK”. HCIDs have a high fatality rate of up to 50%. In the UK, the Covid-19 fatality rate peaked at 15.7%.

The virus is still considered highly infectious: official figures confirmed a 75% increase in positive weekly cases across England last week. The government’s test-and-trace system has been condemned as “barely functional”. Boris Johnson has said the government is doing “everything in our power” to avoid a second national lockdown.

Morrison said the songs would be released every two weeks, starting with Born to Be Free on 25 September. Last month, he called on his “fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this. Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up.”

He has been performing live, with three socially distanced gigs in September and two more scheduled for the London Palladium at the end of the month. “This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs,” he said. “This is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums.”

Morrison is the latest UK musician to speak out against coronavirus safety measures. Noel Gallagher this week said he refused to wear a face mask on public transport and in shops: “There’s too many fucking liberties being taken away from us now,” he told the podcast host Matt Morgan.

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