John Lydon on politics, excerpted from his his autobiography Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, ©1994:
Around the time of the punks, socialism wasn’t working in England. The Labour party were unimpressive and tedious. The Conservatives, the same. It fluctuated from one party to another, four years of this, four years of that, and you wouldn’t notice any change. Young people– in fact, most people– just walked clean away from politics as if it were a waste of time. A cloud of apathy had truly set in. Of course, that’s exactly the environment the Conservatives want. That’s when they can strut their stuff using prejudice, hate, family values, all the nonissues of political life. Grim.
I’m not a revolutionary, a socialist, or any of that. That’s not what I’m about at all. An absolute sense of individuality is my politics. All political groups that I’m aware of on this planet seem to strive to suppress individuality. They need block voting numbers. They need units. It doesn’t matter if it’s left or right, sometimes the tactics are the same. The things these people strive for is mass uniformity. The feminist movement became oppressive very quickly. Gay liberation is not after equal rights at all. It’s to be accepted as this one great lump. If a homosexual inside that movement dares stray away from what they term as the norm, then they victimize that person. It’s replacing the same old system with a different clothing. I hate all these groupings, any kind of gathering like that. It destroys personality and individuality. Maybe a roomful of people having very different ideas is chaotic, but it’s wonderfully chaotic, highly entertaining, and very educational. That’s how you learn things– not by everybody following the same doctrine. I don’t suppose my kind of world could really exist at all because there are so many sheep out there that need leaders. Let them bleat among the flock, that’s not for me. I’d rather be the lone sheep out there fending off the wolves. It’s much better. When you grow up in a working-class environment, you’re supposed to stay inside and follow the rules and regulations of that little system. I won’t have any of that. It’s all wrong, equally bad.