Morrissey is often accused of singling-out Sadiq Khan and Diane Abbott because of their skin colour, by people who have singled out Sadiq Khan and Diane Abbott because of their skin colour.
His jokes and complaints are framed as ‘dog whistles‘ – although it’s never explained why someone who is denounced as a racist ‘Bigmouth‘ on a regular basis would need to secretly signal to racist voters.
He made his comments about Khan and Abbott in an interview on Central published on April 16th 2018 in which he was also scathing about:
The press, journalists, The Guardian, Spin Magazine, the EU, the British Political Elite, politics, himself, The Smiths, Viva Hate, Kill Uncle, The Times, the music industry, the Laughing Gnome, the NME, the loony left, Hitler, UKIP, Nigel Farage, Henry Bolton, Theresa May, Eid Al-Adar festive slaughter, the Conservatives, Labour, FGM, Halal slaughter, child marriage, ISIS, UK law, milk, eggs, religion, Kosher slaughter, stunned slaughter, humane slaughter, slaughter, television, animal death commercials, the BBC, Channel 4 News, people who hate him, his voice in the Smiths, the tabloids, his career, his health, iPhone pictures, Der Spiegel, the cover artwork for Low In High School, Kill Uncle, Southpaw Grammar & Maladjusted, the house of Windsor, Princess Anne, meat-eating, bullfighting, Spain, murder, London, civilisation, acid attacks, the British Government, the Met Police, political correctness, our age of atrocity, interviews, Jo Coburn, Cathy Newman and England.
Diane had been in the news over a math gaffe.
And he was dismissing the whole of politics while explaining why he didn’t vote for Brexit:
JOHN: Did you actually vote to leave?
MORRISSEY: No, I haven’t ever voted. I don’t have sufficient faith in the circus of politics … and … you can see why! It is a moral disaster on every level. Even Tesco wouldn’t employ Diane Abbott.
Later, in response to a question about violence in London, Morrissey took a swipe at the Mayor of London’s diction. As he went on to starkly mention crimes being ignored by the state because they were committed by non-white people, it’s ludicrous to suggest he was using code or that his problem with Khan was about his heritage:
JOHN: London has become a murder capital recently.
MORRISSEY: London is debased. The Mayor of London tells us about ”Neighborhood policin ” – what is ‘policin’? He tells us London is an ”amazin ” city. What is ‘amazin’? This is the Mayor of London! And he cannot talk properly! I saw an interview where he was discussing mental health, and he repeatedly said ”men’el ” … he could not say the words ‘mental health’. The Mayor of London! Civilisation is over!
JOHN: But why do you think so many people are being killed in London?
MORRISSEY: London is second only to Bangladesh for acid attacks. All of the attacks are non-white, and so they cannot be truthfully addressed by the British government or the Met Police or the BBC because of political correctness. What this means is that the perpetrator is considered to be as much of a victim as the actual victim. We live in the Age of Atrocity.
Morrissey may be hyperbolic and insensitive to social mores around speech, but his underlying point is valid and has been made more soberly by other left-wing voices. Very often the state will enable injustice because of ideology or because the issue isn’t fashionable.
He’d used the phrase the age of atrocity before – to signal his distress at the amount of violent imagery in the media/social media.
It’s very difficult for me, I think, to live now, in this electronic age of atrocity. We are fed nothing but carnage and ruin, and we must digest these images and thoughts every single day … so is it any wonder we all look slightly terrorised … this stupid civilization of advertising, advertising, advertising … things that nobody wants. It’s hard to maintain indifference and to not respond. Finally, nothing connects with anything. Even to have imagination suddenly seems hopeless because pop music has become so impoverished and obsessed only with very, very stupid people. It’s fascinating to consider how Radio One once interviewed William Burroughs! These days the program planners at Radio One would pass on William Burroughs in favor of Little Boots. So it’s a bit like trying to deal with people who have nothing but actually want even less than they have. Therefore I look at Richard Davalos and James Dean not as faces from a more simplistic time, but as faces of a beautiful and secret society. You cannot say that about anyone in 2016. (Morrissey, True To You, 18th March 2016)
It’s very likely that his ‘outbursts‘ since 2017 have been his way of coping with that distress – and the rush to obliterate him for racism – when he clearly blames powerful people (the media, politicians, Royals) for the violence that’s tormenting him – will look intensely cruel.
Side Note: Morrissey has a hang up about accents – possibly because he was made to feel lesser because he was working-class, provincial and Irish.
I don’t think I’ve ever really had a Manchester accent. The accent is really quite broad, whereas I’ve always had a very flat accent – there’s a soft lilt in there somewhere. But then you have to remember my background. My parents are from Dublin… with so much Irishness around us, my sister and I growing up, never really felt we were Mancunians. My Irishness was never something I hid or camouflaged. I grew up in a strong Irish community. Of course, early on I’d be teased about it, I was called `Paddy’ from an early age. I mean, there I was, born, braised and bred in Manchester but I was still always called `Paddy’. And this was back in the 1960s when it was a bitter and malevolent slur. (Morrissey, The Irish Times, November 1999)
Television still emits only the King’s English, which Manchester naturally dismembers by dropping any G that might be at the end of a word. (Morrissey, Autobiography, 2013)
And people who assumed Morrissey was saying Sadiq Khan’s accent was foreign because Khan has Pakistani heritage, slagged off Morrissey’s foreign accent:
However, it was at the end of his interview that Morrissey really went up a gear, claiming that the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, “cannot talk properly”… Here, Morrissey is on shaky ground, given he has one of the most peculiar cadences of any public figure… As they age, some people mature, some atrophy and others just . . . start emitting a bad smell. (Caitlin Moran, The Times, April 2018)
Side Note 2: There was a spate of London gang related acid attacks reported in the news where the victims and perpetrators were mostly non-white, which – it was alleged – the police didn’t investigate properly out of prejudice and/or political correctness.
“Because we are working-class and the majority of delivery drivers are from immigrant backgrounds … I feel that probably there is a negligence from law enforcement and on the government sides,” he said. “They don’t tend to care about us.”