Concerns about lockdown concerns are legitimate but Van Morrison made himself look silly

News Letter editorial of Saturday June 12 2021:

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Van Morrison is regarded by critics as one of the most gifted musicians of the popular music era.

In Northern Ireland’s century, very few local celebrities have achieved that global renown.

He has latterly become a fierce opponent of lockdown. Such sceptical voices can be valuable, given that the suspension of key freedoms over the last 15 months is without modern precedent and we should constantly review whether draconian measures are justified.

But Van Morrison’s critique of it has at times, for example in his lyrics, seemed to tip into fringe theories about state control of people. The evidence for this notion is weak. If lockdown ends up causing greater damage than Covid to people via economic misery, loneliness, untreated other illnesses and ruined education, then it will have been a serious misjudgment, but not a conspiracy.

It was wrong of Van Morrison to chant that Robin Swann was a danger, although the singer made himself look more ridiculous than nasty. It was in very bad taste of Ian Paisley MP to join in, even though he soon seemed to want to move Morrison away from his silly chorus.

It is fair though to say that lockdown should not return for a virus with such a low mortality rate, and which most badly affects people already near the end of their lives.

We can no longer ruin the prospects of the young, particularly not at the behest of a Stormont leader who decided funeral limits did not apply when her IRA friend died.

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Alistair Bushe