Is Winston Marshall — guitarist, banjo player, composer of Mumford & Sons, and father of the west London ‘Nu-Folk’ music that eventually conquered the world — a martyr to the Twitter mob? I find his story more interesting than that. He was trolled earlier this year for tweeting in favor of a book by Andy Ngo about the power of the far-left in the United States. (I haven’t read the book; I gather it is polemical, but in no way fascist.) Because of the difficulties this created for the band, he apologized, but later felt uneasy since he believed he had said nothing wrong. After consulting his fellow band members, he decided he wanted to be able to speak out. The best way to respect the mutual accountability by which they operate was to leave the band altogether. Possibly he felt it was time to go anyway; he was its youngest member, aged 17, when it started: it has taken up half his life.

The striking thing is not the original Twitter storm — they are as common and brief as lightning — but the state of the music industry, particularly in America. Surely rock music must be subversive, yet now only one political tune is allowed by the promoters, radio stations etc — with clearly anti-creative results. Although Mr Marshall can easily afford his self-imposed exile, he is brave. He even dares to say on the BBC that he is ‘a man of faith’. I hope he is now free to reveal publicly how the industry operates these days. He will also spend more time with Hong Kong Link Up, the excellent organization founded to welcome Hong Kongers taking up the British citizenship offer. I wonder if some of his trolls take their orders from Beijing…

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s UK magazine. Subscribe to the World edition here.