Northern Ireland Is Disappointed With Van Morrison For Covid-19 Protest Songs
via Gabriel Melo Life/YouTube
The Health Minister Is Calling It “Bizarre and Irresponsible”
Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann and the rest of the nation is pretty disappointed with Van Morrison. The 75-year old veteran rocker announced last week that he’s set to release three new protest songs against the coronavirus lockdown – “No More Lockdown”, “Born to Be Free”, and “As I Walked Out.” He also accused government authorities of being “fascist bullies.”
He previously wrote on his website, “I call on my 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.”
It has since been deleted.
Swann reacted by writing an opinion piece for Rolling Stone, “We in Northern Ireland are very proud of the fact that one of the greatest music legends of the past 50 years comes from our part of the world. So there’s a real feeling of disappointment – we expected better from him. However, it goes further than disappointment. Some of what is he saying is actually dangerous. It could encourage people to not to take Coronavirus seriously. If you see it all as a big conspiracy, then you are less likely to follow the vital public health advice that keeps you and others safe.”
He further explained that “Governments across the world are struggling to find the right path through this pandemic. It’s entirely right and proper to debate and question policies. It’s legitimate to ask if the right balance is being found in what is being done; if the right steps are being taken. None of this is easy or straightforward. But Van Morrison is going way beyond raising questions. He is singing about “fascist bullies” and claiming Governments are deceiving people and wanting to “enslave.””
Swann added how “It’s actually a smear on all those involved in the public health response to a virus that has taken lives on a massive scale. His words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists – the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines and think this is all a huge global plot to remove freedoms.”
And then he went on to quote Van Morrison who once said “I’m apolitical. I’ve got nothing to say about politics whatsoever.” Swann also noted that “He’s changed his tune big time since then. He could have chosen to sing about how we all can help save lives. He could have written a tribute to our health and social care workers on the frontline. There are also so many things in the world to sing protest songs about, like poverty, starvation, injustice, racism, violence, austerity – there’s a long list. Instead, he’s chosen to attack attempts to protect the old and vulnerable in our society.”
Swann is calling it “bizarre and irresponsible” and hopes “no one takes him seriously. He’s no guru, no teacher.”
And now, Van Morrison has shared that he’s donating the profits from the digital downloads of the songs to musicians in need via the Van Morrison Rhythm and Blues Foundation.