Noel Gallagher: We had better music under Thatcher

Former Oases frontman Noel Gallagher
Former Oases frontman Noel Gallagher.

By Ian Dunt

Britain had a richer cultural life under Margaret Thatcher, Former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher has said.

The guitarist, songwriter and singer, who recently split with brother Liam to start the new band High Flying Birds, said that even though the former prime minister ruled "with an iron rod", Britain had a better work ethic during her time in Downing Street.

"We were brought up under Margaret Thatcher," he told the Daily Mail.

"There was a work ethic — if you were unemployed, the obsession was to find work.

"Now these kids brought up under the Labour party and whatever this coalition thing is, say, 'forget that, I'm not interested. I wanna be on TV'."

The singer later added some nuance to his views on his blog, saying that Thatcher had "warped right wing" views.

He wrote: "Any great working class art, fashion, youth culture etc came to be in spite of that woman and her warped right wing views and not because of them.

"Under Thatcher, who ruled us with an iron rod, great art was made. Amazing designers and musicians. Acid house was born. Very colourful and progressive.

"Now, no one's got anything to say. Write a song? No thanks, I'll say it on Twitter. It's a sad state when more people retweet than buy records."

Rock stars who express support for right-wing causes risk serious political damage, as much from fans as a hostile and left-orientated musical press.

When former Smiths singer Morrissey appeared on stage with a skinhead and a St George's flag, the ensuing coverage from NME was so severe some say it forced him to leave the UK.

Mr Gallagher also said the summer riots made him ashamed to come from Manchester.

"I saw kids on the telly saying in their Ali G voices, 'it's payback for the police,'" he said.

"What does that mean? 'Cause they arrest yer for stupid things?' Like what — hopping on one leg? Doing a silly walk like John Cleese? Get home, you idiot.

"All over the world — Syria and Egypt — people were rioting for freedom. And these kids in England are rioting for tracksuits. It's embarrassing."

Mr Gallagher was one of the leading figures in Cool Britannia, a short-lived government-inspired cultural phenomenon during the very early stages of New Labour's time in power.

Before the 1997 general election he praised Tony Blair at the Brit awards, offering the then-leader of the opposition invaluable good publicity among young voters.


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