Music | June 14, 2021 12:10 pm

Van Morrison Posts New Video Railing Against UK Politicians Over Lockdown

The singer singled out Northern Ireland's Robin Swann and Arlene Foster in the video

Van Morrison
Van Morrison performs during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2019 50th Anniversary at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 28, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Not to be outdone by his buddy Eric Clapton, who recently appeared in a lengthy video discussing his controversial beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine, Van Morrison has posted a new rant to his YouTube channel in which he sounds off against several U.K. politicians over the lockdown policies in his native Northern Ireland.

The rambling video, which is titled “For Clarity,” features Morrison seated in front of a piano, chewing and rocking back and forth in his seat while singling out Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann (who he mistakenly refers to as “Robert Swann” throughout the video) and former First Minister Arlene Foster over the country’s lockdown rules.

“I recorded some anti-lockdown songs back when this lockdown situation started, March, April 2020,” he says in the video. “I released these songs, the songs were all aimed at the U.K. government. I’m a U.K. citizen, I live in the U.K., work in the U.K., pay my taxes in the U.K., so I put these songs out and this Robert [sic] Swann character, he decided he wanted to get mixed up in my business, so he contacted an American music magazine called Rolling Stone. I think he wanted to be in the music business or be famous or whatever it was, which was very strange for contacting an American rock magazine when the songs were U.K.-centric, they were against the U.K. government, they were anti-UK government lockdown. That’s what the songs were about, that’s what I was about, that’s what my campaign was about and I was promoting about getting live music back. So Robert Swann decided to get mixed up in my business, which is the music business, he went to an American music magazine and did an interview where he made derogatory comments about myself.”

Swann called Morrison’s comments about anti-lockdown comments about COVID-19 “dangerous” back in 2020, telling 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. 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.”

Morrison claims in the video that he asked Swann “if he could come up with the scientific evidence that proved that live music was in any way dangerous or was transmitting a virus, etc.” last year, adding that “It’s a year later and he has not come up with any evidence whatsoever in relating to why people can’t sing and people can’t perform live music. There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that this is spreading any virus. I personally will not be walked over by this guy with him controlling whether or not I can sing in public and do my job. I’m just not going to lie down and accept this.”

Morrison also addressed a recent incident at the Europa Hotel in Belfast, where he took to the stage to lead an anti-Robin Swann chant after his concert was canceled at the last minute, wondering why there’s not similar outrage over Arlene Foster briefly singing a snippet of “That’s Life” in a press conference. (Morrison doesn’t seem to grasp how holding a concert for thousands of fans is different than briefly singing a few lines of a tune while going about your daily business.)

“Arlene Foster as First Minister brought in rules with her colleagues to ban singing in any shape or form in this country, which is Northern Ireland,” he says in the video. “I had gigs in Europa Hotel last week starting in the 10th of June. The hotel owner and myself were told in no uncertain terms that if there was any singing or performing of live music that we would be arrested and that the police would enforce this. Well, the police did come to make sure that this wasn’t happening. Meanwhile, at a different location on the very same night or day, Arlene Foster was singing in public and she was lauded by the media of course, and I’m wondering, does this look familiar? I personally am not going to take this lying down. Like I say, we were told that we would be arrested if anybody sang and the police were going to show up and check this out. I mean, I wonder how the police investigated Arlene Foster over this breaking of the law by singing in public. Are they going to arrest Arlene Foster? So, same old story, there’s one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us.”

You can watch the video in its entirety below.