Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann has described three new Van Morrison songs protesting against coronavirus lockdowns as “dangerous.”
In his new, as-yet-unreleased songs, the Belfast-born singer accuses scientists worldwide of making up “crooked facts” about the virus, claiming that “fascist bullies” in government are seeking to “enslave” society.
In one of three new tracks, No More Lockdown, the BBC quotes Van Morrison’s lyrics as follows: “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.”
Elsewhere, Morrison sings: “The new normal, is not normal. We were born to be free.”
“I don't know where he gets his facts,” Swann says. “I know where the emotions are on this, but I will say that sort of messaging is dangerous. Our messaging is about saving lives.”
“If Van wanted to sing a song about saving lives, then that would be more in keeping with where we are at the minute. If Van Morrison has counter-scientific facts that he's prepared to stand over, and have that debate with the chief scientific adviser, then I think that's how he should do it.”
This is not the first time that Van Morrison has questioned responses to the coronavirus crisis. In August the singer issued a statement calling on artists to “fight the pseudoscience” behind socially distanced concerts.
Morrison isn’t the only musician raising his voice against new measures brought in to combat the spread of the virus. Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher recently voiced his opposition to government requirements surrounding mask-wearing, leading to widespread criticism from the music world and beyond.
“It’s not a law," Gallagher told radio presenter Matt Morgan on a now-deleted episode of his podcast. "There’s too many fucking liberties being taken away from us now … I choose not to wear one.”