Poor Bernard Sumner can’t get to his new boat in North Wales. The New Order frontman is so aggrieved at this fact; he’s had to bitch about it, saying, “the f**king Welsh won’t let me in.”
While it is not uncommon for once-liberal middle-aged Manc rock-stars that we worshipped throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s to all start coming out as bigots, Barney’s comments typify the divisive rhetoric of the UK lockdown.
Remember in the early days of the lockdown when the government wanted to distract us from the fact that King Boris had been skipping COBRA class again? Instead of owning up to the fact that they were massive failures, they decided to turn the country against each other, again.
It was a case of “two legs good” and assorted Orwellian doublespeak when we all enjoyed our daily two-minute hate, shouting about those people who were flaunting the lockdown measures. We might have overlooked the fact that the government was pulverising the NHS in front of our very eyes while making us clap. All of this happened because being forced to stay home, save lives, and save the NHS had turned us into a nation of curtain-twitching Facebook virologists.
Back to Barney. The joy has long since departed from Sumner who is more bitter about the Welsh preventing him from going and stroking his boat in Wales than he ever was about the fact that Peter Hook was the best member of New Order.
The world is not in motion anymore. But as England loosened its lockdown measures, the devolved parliaments and assemblies of three out of the four UK countries all remained fully committed to remaining in full restriction.
This led to a panic in Wales. Memes of dragons chasing off English visitors who wanted to roll in the hills were created, and there was a deep sense of panic in the valleys. The English were coming for days out.
There’s nothing like splitting the United Kingdom up to keep us from having to face up to the fact that Boris turned down the EU support. This joyless division will tear us apart.
So, while Barney fancied joining the new order and forming an unholy alliance with Morrissey and Noel Gallagher, his comments underline the fact that nobody is safe from the us-and-them chess game that Boris and Co. are playing with our lives during the pandemic.
These aren’t really the opinions of the blandest of the 24-Hour Party People though; Bernard Sumner’s just a well-placed distraction from the fact that we’re being driven to destruction by the Tories.
With a few more weeks of lockdown on the cards, which social lines will our government schism next? And please can someone check on Bez to make sure he hasn’t joined the bigot-brigade too?
Peter Wyn Mosey is a freelance writer based in Llanelli, Wales. He has written and performed comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe, has been featured on Little Old Lady Comedy and Robot Butt, and regularly posts short stories and poetry on his website Peterwynmosey.com. Image: Bernard Sumner of New Order at Latitude Festival, Southwold, July 2016. Photograph by smokeghost via Flickr (cc).
Medha Singh is music editor at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and a researcher for The Raza Foundation. She functions as India Editor for The Charles River Journal, Boston. She is also part of the editorial collective at Freigeist Verlag, Berlin. Her first book of poems, Ecdysis was published by Poetrywala, Mumbai in 2017. She took her M.A. in English literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and studied at SciencesPo, Paris through an exchange program, as part of her interdisciplinary master’s degree. She has written variously on poetry, feminism and rock music. Her poems and interviews have appeared widely, in national and international journals. Her second book is forthcoming. She tweets at @medhawrites from within the eternal eye of the New Delhi summer.