There comes a time when icons of the past need to be reassessed as to what they stand for and for what they stood. Paul McCartney at 80 last night enjoyed a late-in-life moment of exposure at the Glastonbury festival but disgraced himself showing partisan support for an ongoing war by waving a Ukrainian flag. The Ukrainian flag itself does not represent anything sinister (I like think of it as land and sky) but the present neo-fascist regime under Zelensky, the man who promised peace but fostered war, brings a sour taste to the palettes of right-minded people.
Coming from Liverpool, McCartney can hardly have missed a contemporary sixties song to which Pete McGovern wrote the lyrics.
Way back in the forties the world it went mad and Hitler he threw at us all that he had When the smoke and the dust had all cleared from the air “Thank God,” said the old man, “the Pier Head’s still there.” In my Liverpool home.
Here The Spinners sing In my Liverpool Home.
Although too young to remember the Nazi bombing of Liverpool everybody of that generation, McCartney included, knew what Nazi Germany stood for and what our parents’ generation fought against.
Often the Nazi trident symbol has been superimposed on the Ukrainian flag and there can be no doubt about where the Zelensky government stands.
From the famous Beatles group only Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have survived. Although peace and love are still Ringo’s laudable memes I have yet to find a political statement from him for or against anything except back in 2008 to stop sending him objects to sign through the post.
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who condemned the Maidan coup, has also taken issue with the Russian intervention. He told Rolling Stone magazine, and perhaps there’s a message here for Sir Paul:
“I will do anything I can to help effect the end of this awful war in your country, anything that is except wave a flag to encourage the slaughter,” he wrote. “That is what the gangsters want, they want us to wave flags. . .”
That was a personal message to a Ukrainian fan though mainstream has blown it up to make it more anti-Russian than was intended.
It was my era, and The Beatles were part of it. Carried along on a wave called Beatlemania we were sucked into the maelstrom of the moment. It was a unique thrust of musical history which has already inspired generations. Some of the music produced by The Beatles broke new barriers, not just in record sales, but in musical accomplishment. Written by Paul McCartney Eleanor Rigby is an outstanding minor-key achievement.
Most of The Beatles songs were inspirational and have rightly found favour not just among the Beatlemania masses, like us, but in the major orchestras of the world. They even inspired me and Dan Rodger to write a tribute to them.
I have to say I am disappointed in Paul McCartney. Is he now showing his true colours?
Featured image credit: Jill Jarrett
Hi John, a disturbing post highlighting the links between politics and entertainment. My personal feelings about McCartney were set in stone on the day his divorce to Heather Mills McCartney’s was endorsed by the courts. I was working in the hinterlands of Liverpool and after work I had to walk several miles along arterial roads to reach the city centre where I live. As I walked I watched posters for the Liverpool Echo (local paper) being put up on the news boards outside the many news agents I passed. The various posters I saw that day were in extremely poor taste and concerned McCartney’s former wife and the financial settlement agreed in court. It was vicious. Whatever one thinks of Heather Mills McCartney, there was no excuse for the utterly vile rubbishing dished out on that day. I was already aware that McCartney had grown close to Rupert Murdoch according to the media reports I had read and rationalised the Echo poster campaign as one of the perks of the global elite of which McCartney is so clearly one. I imagined that poster campaign all across Britain, in every suburb, every news agent. A gigantic bully wielding colossal power, casually using that power to publicly abuse a former lover. No thanks.
Thanks Bryan for your comment. I have been to Liverpool many times and even cycled through it a few times (most recent 2019). A cousin of mine used to work for the Liverpool Echo (photographer) many years ago, before branching out on his own. But I agree that newspaper hoardings can be in extremely bad taste especially if they come from the Murdoch stable. One heading that sticks out in my mind is “GOTCHA” in The Sun which was used for the (illegal) sinking of the General Belgrano and all that loss of life. I can only imagine what the hoardings said. The media are having great difficulty recovering from this sickness.
Hi John, I live near to the house where Ringo Starr was born, so I’ve long been aware of a growing tourist trade in “Beatlemania”. It is not inusual to see buses and taxis painted in wild Beatles motifs bringing people to the small, very ordinary terraced street where the Beatles drummer was born. The three story pub, the Empress, which sits at the end of the street, has just had a huge mural of Ringo Stars face (40 foot high or so), surrounded by various blue meanies and whatnot, painted on the side of the fine old building. The mural, rather creatively I think, stretches across the street to the lower building opposite, where the same artist has added yet more Beatles iconography. It’s well executed in a photographic kind of way. It all seems harmless enough, indeed I suppose, some people are earning a living catering for this burgeoning tourist trade. It made me realise how strong a global brand the Beatles are; my limited encounters with these travellers indicate they come from all five continents, fame indeed. For those want to take the Beatles tour in style, a Rolls Royce, with a brilliant psychedelic paint job is for hire. If I was to take tour, the roller looks the best
On the media, I am firmly convinced that concentration of ownership is at the root of the sickness you mention.
The Beatles were big. They deserved their fame because they introduced a new sound, harmonised well, and wrote some incredibly catchy songs. As well as their personal wealth they brought wealth to the city of Liverpool, gave hundreds, if not thousands, of groups and tribute bands a repertoire that the whole country could sing along with, and created, as you say, a tourist industry that help promote Liverpool and what became known as the Mersey Sound.
Their talent and music are divorced from their individual personalities but it was a sad sight to see the flag-waving on behalf of a neo-Nazi state with a catalogue of war-crimes to answer for. The media, as they did in Nazi Germany, have done a great job in convincing the populace of this beloved country of mine that fascism is fine. As to the concentration of ownership I think Reuters and Thomson used to be separate but now all the lies come from one source and the stenographers (Craig Murray calls them) and presstitutes pump it out like the raw seage it is.