Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite says “complete joker” Eric Clapton copied Black musicians “but then quoted Enoch Powell”

Braithwaite also criticised Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown.

Stuart Braithwaite, Eric Clapton

Images: Roberto Ricciuti / Mike Marsland / Getty

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Mogwai frontman Stuart Braithwaite has weighed in on the controversial legacy of blues guitarist Eric Clapton, calling into question why people would trust Clapton to give information about Covid-19 measures such as vaccines and masks, given his history. Braithwaite specifically cited the racist tirade that Clapton went on at a 1976 concert.

Speaking to the Independent, Braithwaite discussed the topic of Covid-19-related conspiracy theories, saying that “it’s quite depressing to see people reaching for these really shit conspiracy theories that are totally made-up bullshit… The actual fact of the matter [is] that all the billionaires have all got 10 times richer in this time when everybody’s absolutely fucked. That’s a real thing that’s happening that everyone should be furious about.”

“Instead, everyone’s convinced that Bill Gates is turning them into a magnet or some shit,” he added.

Two figures notable for touting anti-vaccine views are Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, and Eric Clapton. Braithwaite said he feels that the widespread misinformation from public figures is perpetuated by a “toxic mix of weed and YouTube”, and that “People probably shouldn’t be looking to Ian Brown for sensible advice in the first place”.

Brown has made headlines over the past few months, his Twitter feed now almost entirely dedicated to angry posts about the vaccine and related restrictions. He has in the past been suspended from the platform for sharing misinformation.

Braithwaite also commented on Eric Clapton, who has similarly been using his platform to share misinformation about the vaccine. “I’m surprised anyone listens to what Eric Clapton says anyway,” said Braithwaite. “He’s a complete joker of a guy that’s made his career from copying Black musicians but then quotes Enoch Powell.”

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton performing in 1976. Image:
Larry Hulst / Getty

Braithwaite’s point is in reference to Clapton’s infamous 1976 rant, made on stage in Birmingham. During the slur-filled tirade, he repeatedly praised the anti-immigration stance of right-wing politician Enoch Powell. “Stop Britain from becoming a Black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white,” he said. “Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back. The Black wogs and coons and Arabs and fucking Jamaicans don’t belong here, we don’t want them here.”

Aside from the deeply offensive views expressed within it, the rant gained notoriety for its irony, with many pointing out that Clapton had made his career through a British interpretation of a Black musical tradition.

Clapton has since expressed regret for the 1976 rant. He has, however, continued to court controversy with his views on Covid-19 measures and the vaccine.

During a new video interview produced by an anti-lockdown production company, Clapton described his temporary side effects upon receiving both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and expressed concern that his daughter’s fertility would be affected if she received the vaccine.

This latter point is baseless: there is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility, nor any reasonable mechanism for it to do so.

Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, has gone on record as saying: “We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data.

“There is​ ​no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women’s fertility.”

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