Van Morrison to Release Protest Songs Against COVID-19 Lockdown

Singer Van Morrison plans to release protest songs against the U.K.'s coronavirus lockdown, describing the government as "fascist bullies disturbing our peace." The "Moondance" singer has written three songs on the subject, including one that condemns the "celebrities telling us what we're supposed to feel." Morrison, 75, plans to roll out the songs every two weeks, starting with "Born to Be Free" on Sept. 25.

"I'm not telling people what to do or think," the "Brown-Eyed Girl" singer said in a statement to The Guardian Friday. "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." In the song "No More Lockdown," Morrison calls for "no more government overreach" and "no more fascist bullies." He sings, "No more taking of our freedom. And our God-given rights. Pretending it's for our safety when it's really to enslave."

"No More Lockdown" also blasts Imperial College scientists for "making up crooked facts." This is possibly a reference to the former government scientific advisor, Professor Neil Ferguson, who said the U.K. could have prevented 20,000 deaths if the national lockdown started a week earlier in March. In "As I Walked Out," Morrison cited a statement on the U.K. government's site that reads, "Covid-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the U.K." This is a reference to the U.K.'s COVID-19 fatality rate, which peaked at 15.7%. However, the virus is still infectious, as recent statistics showed a 75% jump in positive weekly cases in England.

Health Minister Robin Swann criticized Morrison for his "dangerous" messaging. "Our messaging is about saving lives," Swann told the BBC. "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."

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Morrison's songs are "offensive and dangerous," Niall Murphy, a solicitor who fought the coronavirus, told BBC Radio Ulster. "I had a ventilator placed down my gullet while I was in an induced coma for 14 days, and the same time in recovery, and then in and out of intensive care, and I would not want anybody to experience that," Murphy said, adding that the "very serious solemn public health message" was being "sullied" by the singer.

This is not the first time Morrison has publicly criticized U.K. policies on the coronavirus. In August, he called on fellow musicians to "stand up, fight the pseudo-science" and support concerts with packed crowds, reports The Guardian. Morrison said his decision to play club dates at venues following social distancing guidelines was not a "sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs," but were just to help his band get "up and running." He said musicians "need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward."