Sexually Ambiguous: Finsbury Park

The Sun, 30 July 1992 – ‘Lots of people I knew used to go gay-bashing but I never got involved. Ronnie Kray was an inspiration to me. He’s gay but nobody calls him a faggot. He’s probably the hardest gangster ever and that helped me cope in the difficult times’.

On July 29th 1992, Nicky Crane – National Front/British Movement skinhead and roadie for neo-Nazi band Skrewdriver; who featured in the same Nick Knight photo essay as the V-flicker on a Morrissey t-shirt – came out as gay on a UK Channel 4 documentary, Out: The Skin Complex, that explored gay skinhead subculture. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25142557

Nicky Crane. Children of the Sun by Max Schaefer, is based on his life. https://muswell-press.co.uk/product/children-of-the-sun/

On August 22nd 1992, the NME spent 5 pages denouncing Morrissey as a racist – for holding a Union Jack for 3 minutes and using an art print of two skinhead girls as a backdrop – while supporting headliners Madness, at Finsbury Park, on August 8th 1992, after he cut his set short and cancelled the next day’s appearance, due to the crowd throwing missiles and heckling homophobic abuse. https://illnessasart.com/2020/11/26/nme-22-august-1992/amp/

NME, 22 August 1992

Select reported the homophobia while blaming Morrissey for it.

Bad move one: he appears in front of a backdrop featuring two androgynous skinhead girls – one – perversely – resembling Carrie Fisher. The men’s men in the crowd offer the opinion that Morrissey is a “poofy bastard” and elevate many a middle finger. It’s boneheaded bullshit, sure, but nothing you shouldn’t be able to weather. Bad move two: Moz produces a Union Jack which he brandishes throughout “Glamorous Glue” as an art statement. This is a spectacularly stupid stunt, given the unwelcome right-wing following Madness always tried to get rid of and the putrid characters milling around outside. Thank God they can’t understand the words to “National Front Disco”… But contrary to his press statements, there was no hail of shrapnel to force a cancellation of the Sunday slot – just a reception that didn’t suit. Gallon Drunk stuck it out, didn’t they? Somewhere in the distance, you can hear The Farm, who would have gone down immeasurably better on this lads’ day out, laughing up each others’ sleeves. Who can even be bothered to feel sympathy for Morrissey? Perhaps we’ll see an end to his terribly modish flaunting of skinhead imagery. Perhaps he’ll learn that you can treat your fans with cavalier disdain once too often (most of the unfortunate Moz kids have bought tickets for Sunday – Glastonbury part 2). Or perhaps he’ll just emigrate. (Select, October 1992)

He certainly got a hard time from the homophobes, but nothing the most acid tongue in pop couldn’t handle. (Select, January 1993)

Morrissey at Madstock, 8th August 1992

The Independent didn’t pick up on anything untoward with his imagery – but blamed the crowd’s negative reaction on his lack of masculinity.

to the gold lame flounce of Morrissey, who, having replaced The Farm, was accorded the proverbial ‘mixed reaction’ for his trouble. But then, Morrissey has never been exactly the most blokeish of performers. (Andy Gill, 9th August 1992, The Independent) https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/rock-cracking-the-nutty-boys-beery-nostalgia-laddish-boisterousness-and-a-bunch-of-ordinary-blokes-andy-gill-on-madness-in-finsbury-park-1539470.html

From the start of his career, he rejected or invented labels for his gender and sexuality – and in the early/mid 1980s he said he was celibate.

Prince says he isn’t… Michael Jackson says it’s a sin. Elton John is married… David Bowie says he was never even bisexual… Lou Reed is maritally heterosexual… Little Richard [and] Donna Summer are on the anti-gay trail… music… has gone homophobic… And there’s also Morrissey, who’s … yes, gay... ensconced in a corner of Salisbury, a gay London pub… Morrissey, spoke with THE ADVOCATE: What do you mean by the fourth gender? I think labels are too restrictive. Like everyone is either heterosexual or homosexual. People are simply sexual. Do gay musicians say they’re celibate to appease the homophobic segments of the public? It may well enter into that, if it’s a lie. Certainly celibacy has a spiritual attractiveness… like a little halo. Is it harder to get into the media if one is gay, rather than noncommittal? It is more difficult. What was your childhood like? Wonderful… the teenage years were rotten… hormones divided us into camps, and as any gay person knows, that’s the time you start losing friends – or those you thought were friends. And then those professional heterosexuals, those people in those boxes, are closed to you for life. (Morrissey, interviewed by George Hadley-Garcia, the Advocate, 16 October 1984) https://illnessasart.com/2021/07/13/the-advocate-16-october-1984/

His imagery was often coded as gay.

As Oscar Wilde himself once said – Jesus bleedin Christ!!!… And… the whole thing is punctuated by shots of rather hunky young schoolboys whose commendably formal uniforms are augmented by six-inch-high-heel shoes! (Danny Kelly, NME, 1 April 1989)

In 1991, he toured with the Jewish, lesbian, singer, Phranc.

Morrissey and Phranc, 1991

In a Facebook post in 2021, his guitarist and co-songwriter, Alain Whyte, wrote that the crowd hated Morrissey because they thought he was queer.

Alain Whyte, Facebook post, 27 October 2021

The NME’s hit piece made a direct link between sexuality and racism, with one paragraph echoing publicity surrounding the Channel 4 gay skinheads documentary.

Caucasian Rut: A child in a curious phase…“? (NME, 22 August 1992) 

Being gay or bisexual was (and sometimes still is) described as a phase. https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/12/25/being-gay-is-just-a-phase-show-them-this-viral-twitter/ )

At one extreme, Kylie Minogue miraculously transforms herself from the jovial girl-next-door to a strutting nymphet who cavorts lustily with black ‘dancers’ to suggest risky sexuality. And, at the other extreme, Steven Patrick Morrissey undergoes a gradual metamorphosis from a miserable, loveless outsider with a sense of humour to a miserable, loveless outsider who flirts with racist imagery. (NME, 1992)

Dr Dinesh Bhugra, a psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry, speaking on Skin Complex, the Channel 4 programme to be screened on Wednesday, argues that gay men adopting the skinhead image is not surprising. In a society that is producing a tremendous amount of homophobia, you have to try and protect yourself by whichever means you can and if, in order to do it, it means you are identifying with the oppressor then people will do that in order to survive. (Independent, 26 July 1992)

Let’s not forget that the adolescent Morrissey used to be chased through the streets of Manchester at night by leering beer-boys, some of whom may have held NF sympathies, simply for being ‘different’. And he definitely spent a lot of time in Whalley Range, a multi-racial area. Is he now identifying with his former oppressors? Has he changed from the persecuted to the persecutor? Or, is he fascinated by the idea of racism, by the look of violent skinheads, to the extent of being oppressed so much he falls in love with his oppressors? (NME, 22 August 1992)

We’ll Let You Know’ is ostensibly a love song to football hooligans, casting them as “the last truly British people you’ll ever know”, which wouldn’t be that irritating if you didn’t realise that a significant percentage of them are also NF or BNP affiliated. (NME, 1992)

A review in the Melody Maker falsely claimed that Morrissey was holding the Union Jack while singing the National Front Disco as supporters shouted Sieg Heil – so the NME’s admonition that he had racist friends and liked outsider trappings could come from that – or it could point to Nicky Crane.

Sally Gunnell, winning Gold in 400m hurdles, 6 August 1992, Barcelona Olympics

Morrissey is, despite all hopes, despicable… Look, Steven, if you’ve just run 100 metres in 9.98, you can have some sort of vague, if dubious, claims to wearing a Union Jack around your shoulders. If you’re singing the National Front Disco and getting too scared/weary to put inverted commas around the England for the English bit, while Sieg Heils butter you up down the front, don’t expect much sympathy… (Paul Mathur, Melody Maker, 15 August 1992)

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Morrissey is a racist. He just likes the trappings and the culture that surround the outsider element. He has some racist friends. And if he carries on this way, he’ll have thousands more. (NME, 1992)

Cover of Your Arsenal, often described as “homoerotic“, the album’s track listing included the National Front Disco & We’ll Let You Know.

A gay skinhead fantasy had appeared in Square Peg, a queer interest magazine, published by a collective of gay men who met at a gay nightclub, The Bell, in King’s Cross, where Morrissey, Derek Jarman, and Nicky Crane were also, at one time, regulars. https://www.gayinthe80s.com/2017/09/pub-bell-kings-cross-london/

Why I’m a Skin: I grew up in remotest and desolate suburbia… Untidy, shy and eccentric, I was first bullied, then ignored… I discovered… what respectable men did with each other in toilets. I joined in with enthusiasm. At school I was Charles Laughton. In the cottages I was James Dean… The skinhead is beyond fashion and cannot be assimilated… This animal’s only secondary sexual characteristics are his braces worn up to exaggerate the width of the shoulders, down to emphasise the curve of the bum… He is pure sex… He is an anarchist, not because he rejects the rules, but because they cannot be applied to him. (Square Peg, No 12, 1986) https://tenderbooks.co.uk/products/square-peg-magazine-a-complete-run-with-related-ephemera?variant=39743140561080

I just felt towards all these figures in popular music who were trying to be gay and outrageous – why does it always have to be so shocking? I think ‘This Charming Man’ was the most revolutionary single in popular music in that area – I’m really quite convinced of it, because it was all just completely natural about male relationships, it was nice and natural, but it wasn’t banal. (Morrissey, Square Peg, No. 6, 1984) https://illnessasart.com/2020/01/06/square-peg-no-6-august-1984/

In 1981, Nicky Crane’s picture was used on the cover of a compilation album, Strength Thru Oi, that was released by Sounds magazine, causing a scandal over his neo-Nazi connections, and the allusion to the Nazi slogan strength through joy. He also appeared in gay porn films and worked with Genesis P-Orridge.

NAZI FARTSY : Earsay’s snippets (Channel 4) on Genesis P-Orridge et al featured an unexpected guest – a certain Nicola Crane. Crane, the neo-Nazi who by a series of errors made the front cover of ‘Strength Thru Oi’, turned out to be one of the ‘stars’ of a Psychic TV video film. Let’s hope the media are as quick to condemn this obviously deliberate airing for Crane as they were with that accidental airing three years ago. (Sounds, 22nd September 1984)

Nicky Crane on Psychic TV : https://timalderman.com/2018/04/30/gay-history-a-contradiction-in-terms-nicky-crane-and-kevin-wilshaw-gay-neo-nazis-part-1/

In 1984, Nicky led an attack on left-wing skinhead band, the Redskins, at a GLC benefit gig. The Smiths were on the bill. He was also working for, Gentle Touch, a firm that provided security for left-wing and gay events. In 1986, he marched at gay pride, under a ‘gay skins’ banner. When asked, gay organisers said they felt it was ok because he’d been seen kissing an Afro-Caribbean man.

https://www.gale.com/binaries/content/assets/gale-uk-en/export/primary-sources/nicky-crane-case-study-_-political-extremism.pdf

Morrissey, left-wing GLC leader Ken Livingstone, singer Mari Wilson http://transpont.blogspot.com/2013/12/nicky-crane-and-1980s-se-london-nazis.html : https://pasttenseblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/today-in-londons-radical-history-striking-miners-anti-fascists-beat-off-nazi-attack-on-glc-festival-1984/amp/

The National Front/British Movement/BNP were violently homophobic, assaulting and murdering gay people, attacking and bombing gay events and venues. And had been rocked by gay scandals.

Those naked Nazis: I am somewhat pleased to see the National Front arseholes scratching each other’s eyes out over the Martin Webster scandals. John Tyndall is so so upset about Webster’s homosexual image that he’s formed a breakaway NF organisation and is openly slagging Webster in his publication, Spearhead. It seems he accuses the Front of being full of queers and morally corrupt and that Webster is giving the Front A BAD NAME! It’s okay to smash someone’s head in, but it’s the biggest crime of all to be gay. (Zipper, 24 October 1980)

In 1999, the BNP, nail bombed the Admiral Duncan, a gay pub in London, Soho. Three people were killed, but the law in the UK was so homophobic, that it wasn’t prosecuted as a political act of terrorism, but was classed as a personal animosity to gay men. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-47216594

When Crane came out as gay, he was disowned.

It just goes to show that nationalism and homosexuality do not fit in together, because Nationalism is a true cause and homosexuality is a perversion. Nicky Crane left, and I think that it was the best thing he could have done, but he should have left a hell of a lot earlier. He was living a lie for all of them years. I’ve got no respect for the bloke anymore. (Ian Stuart Donaldson, lead singer of Skrewdriver, Last Chance fanzine, 1992) https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/05/skinheads-christmas-far-right-archive-1985

NME Caption: Morrissey “Jacks off” (slang for sex acts, usually performed on/by a male), NME, 22 August 1992

After the Madstock gig – Morrissey’s press office blamed “projectiles” thrown by a “National Front skinhead” for his refusal to play the next day. Morrissey reportedly said it was “too dangerous” (NME, 22 August 1992).

Madstock’s promoter, Vince Power, blamed the backdrop and the Union Jack, “in a way he got the audience he was looking for” (NME, 1992).

NME caption: Stop this shit now, Morrissey! NME, 22 August 1992

Peter Hooton, thought it was payback for his band, the Farm, being dropped from the bill, for not being “manly” enough, “I was amazed at the Morrissey camp’s reaction. He’s dealing with contentious stuff, flirting with right wing views in front of a Madness crowdhe’s a very sad and mixed-up man.” (NME, 1992)

Oi, Oi, not how “the lads” behave, NME, 22 August 1992

Flowered Up’s keyboard player, Tim Dourney, said Morrissey was “asking for a bit of trouble. Maybe he thought he could win over the skinhead contingent but you’re going to put backs up prancing around like that.”

Derek Ridgers worried that the girls who WERE racist imagery (to the NME) were being used in a distasteful or demeaning way. “Being a Morrissey fan I thought he’d use them in a tasteful way. My main concern was that it wasn’t going to be demeaning to people in the picture.” (NME, 1992)

the ‘racist imagery’ , Morrissey, at Madstock, 8 August 1992

The NME admitted that the National Front was in London on the 8th of August to confront a Troops Out march – but deliberately skipped over the National Front’s hostility to Irish Catholics and Irish Republicans, didn’t mention that Morrissey had expressed Irish Republican sympathies, gave the wrong impression that his ‘ethnic group’ was English (he’s Irish Catholic), and used the skinhead backdrop and the Union Jack to directly connect him to the National Front – with their skinhead membership and their Union Jacks.

Morrissey’s affection for the skinhead and nationalist imagery was given its most public display ever at Finsbury Park. With Derek Ridgers’ skinhead photos used as a backdrop, he waved and wrapped a Union Jack flag around his torso. Meanwhile, outside the park’s perimeter, Union Jacks were also brandished — by National Front and British Movement supporters congregating to confront a Troops Out march. (NME, 22 August 1992)

… could the same writer harbour such seemingly ignorant thoughts as “‘England for the English'” (his inverted commas) considering his beloved England’s past colonial adventures? (NME, 1992)

The National Front exploited conflict in Northern Ireland. Skrewdriver’s album, Boot and Braces/Voice of Britain, released in 1990, contained the songs White Power and Smash the IRA.

A feature of the Bloody Sunday marches was that the far right (BNP etc.) often mobilised to oppose them, so that in the pubs and streets surrounding the demonstrations there would be skirmishes between anti-fascists and racists. In 1990 for instance, three Anti Fascist Action (AFA) members were jailed after notorious Nazi skinhead Nicky Crane was dragged out of a taxi in Kilburn in the vicinity of the Bloody Sunday march. (History Is Made At Night, 30 January 2012) http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.com/2012/01/bloody-sunday-1972-forty-years-of.html

Blood and Honour, a neo-Nazi group set up by Skrewdriver, from their magazine 1998 https://www.channel4.com/news/ian-stuart-donaldson-a-legacy-of-hate

The NME invents a variety of motivations for the crowd’s hostility – all of which blame Morrissey – one of which implies that he’s a gay man trying to join the National Front and getting the violence he deserves.

It almost doesn’t matter who pelted him offstage (NF skins who don’t want his glitter-shirted type diluting the ‘movement’, Farm fans disgruntled at his alleged part in getting them chucked off the bill, ordinary Joes and Jos disgusted by his toying with nationalist imagery, people who just never liked The Polecats!); the fact remains: given all the above, it was almost inevitable. (NME, 1992)

Madstock, NME, 22 August 1992

While positioning themselves as ‘right-on’, ‘compassionate’ and ‘liberal’ – concerned that Morrissey has chosen to incite violent racism and genocide.

In agitated times when the twin spectres of fascism and ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ are sweeping across Europe, and when there’s been a return in England to the horrifying incidence of burning immigrants out of their homes, we must wonder why Morrissey has chosen this precise moment to fuel the fires of racism by parading onstage with a Union Jack and writing such ambiguous dodgy lyrics as ‘The National Front Disco’ and ‘We’ll Let You Know’ on his recent album. Is he so starved of lyrical ideas that a touch of controversy is the best way to cover-up ‘writer’s block’? Is he completely fed-up with the liberal consensus in the more compassionate side of the media that he’s resorted to baiting the right-on crowd? Is there a sizeable degree of irony at work? (NME, 1992)

In contrast to Morrissey, who is now the opposite of ‘gentle and kind’ (this trope is still wheeled out – he’s mean, he’s toxic, he won’t talk to journalists and yet HE IS ALWAYS HAVING OUTBURSTS).

Equally, his recent response to the publication of Johnny Rogan’s Smiths book The Severed Alliance, was at best distasteful, at worst illustrative of a severe lack of perspective… Morrissey, while admitting that he’d never even read it, condemned the book, and said that he hoped Rogan died in a car smash on the M3… Is this the same man who, in The Smiths’ finest moment (‘I Know It’s Over’) wroteIt’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate, it takes guts to be gentle and kind? Sadly, yes. The same man but now displaying a cruelty and lack of deftness that makes his golden days seem light years away. (NME, 1992)

A picture taken in Dublin is used to label him a Little Englander, NME, 22 August 1992

They try to firm up the accusations by bringing up the ‘hip hop wars’, fabricated by music journalists who were excluding black artists from rock music.

1992 isn’t the first time Morrissey has been accused of fanning the flames of race-hate. When The Smiths released ‘Panic’ in 1986, at the height of what’s now known within NME as ‘the hip-hop wars’, certain writers at this paper branded Moz a ‘racist’ because of the sentiments “Burn down the disco… Hang the DJ” expressed therein, seeing the song as an all-out attack on dance music and therefore black people. (NME, 1992)

The National Front’s most violent organiser, Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair was a fan of reggae band UB40 and his paramilitary loyalist gang would kill Catholics while listening to rave. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/the-uda-killer-nicknamed-top-gun-behind-a-dozen-sectarian-murders-1.4628830 : https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/aug/27/northernireland.henrymcdonald1 : https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/how-loyalists-got-out-of-step-with-fascism-28657619.html : https://ansionnachfionn.com/2011/09/16/fascists-neo-nazis-and-the-british-unionist-minority-in-ireland/

Johnny Adair, on the far right, National Front march, 1980s : The NME’s coverage of ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland: https://journals.openedition.org/etudesirlandaises/10464?lang=fr

They interpreted Bengali In Platforms as an anti-assimilation diatribe – so they could conflate him with anti-immigrant-anti-Irish-Catholic, ex-Tory, Ulster Unionist MP, Enoch Powell.

Viva Hate’, his first ‘solo’ LP, contained the charmingly titled ‘Bengali In Platforms’, a convoluted diatribe against assimilation: “He only wants to impress you/Bengali in platforms/He only wants to embrace your culture/And to be your friend forever/ … Oh shelve your Western plans/ … life is hard enough when you belong here.” And where does this somewhat gentle ridicule leave the Bengalis who were born in England? On the next boat captained by Enoch Powell? In the lurch? The main complaint Little Englanders have about immigrants is their seeming abhorrence of the host culture and feisty determination to cling to what they know and understand. But here we have someone who won’t let them do the opposite either... (NME, 1992)

Pro-Enoch Powell, anti-immigration march, 1972 https://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/explore/online-exhibitions/windrush-day/windrush-day-enigma-arrival/4-caribbean-resettlement

All of this is a smokescreen – they even tell the reader how it’s constructed. They charge him with being a nationalist, right-wing, violent and a racist – then accumulate ‘problematic’ associations: Panic hates black people. Rusholme Ruffians hates Asians – who ‘duffed Moz up’ – his songs are literal and autobiographical. Suedehead is black-hating and gay-bashing, which makes Bengali In Platforms, Asian Rut, We’ll Let You Know and The National Front Disco, black-hating and gay-bashing. He’s ambiguous – he causes unease and disquiet – he’s always carping about black people – it’s accelerating now he’s solo – he’s a danger to gullible and suggestible fans – he’s unwholesome.

Let’s deal with the first, and infinitely more difficult of these charges, the whole ugly grab-bag of nationalism, right-wingery, violence and racism… The Smiths’ ‘Panic’ could be construed as an attack on black music and therefore, by extension, black people. But the unease predates even that. One Mancunian music journalist has voiced disquiet that the ‘Ruffians’ on ‘Meat Is Murder’ — who duff up the Moz at a funfair — should be from ‘Rusholme’, the only part of Manchester that might be identified as ‘Asian’. It’s since the advent of Morrissey’s solo career, however, that misgivings about some of his chosen subject matter, lyrics, imagery and associations have begun to accelerate. His very first solo single, ‘Suedehead’, was named after the black-hating, gay-bashing post-skinhead gangs glamourised by Richard Allen’s notorious 1971 novel of the same name. Since then there’s been ‘Bengali In Platforms’ (from ‘Viva Hate’), ‘Asian Rut’ (‘Kill Uncle’) and, most recently, ‘We’ll Let You Know’ (with its line about “we are the last truly British people you will ever know”) and ‘The National Front Disco’ (from ‘Your Arsenal’). Nobody is denying Morrissey’s right to write about what the hell he likes and nor are any of these songs intrinsically problematic, but not all of his audience are as smart as him and the constant, unfocused, reference to these delicate matters, allied to Morrissey’s steadfast ambiguity in interviews (see quotes) does have a cumulative effect. Add to this his constant carping about reggae, disco and any other music that’s usually prefaced with the word ‘black’ (and the ‘Panic’ provision, that hating black music doesn’t mean to hate black people, still applies) and you can see how the gullible or suggestible fan, or the suspicious critic, might start to build up a pretty unwholesome portrait of the artist.

The skins are Nazis – but also male – and there are homosexuals about.

The original skins were about working class (primarily male) solidarity and an alternative to the stultifying mundanity and bullshit of everyday life, recurring themes in Morrissey’s writing. But they were also, despite their taste in ska and early reggae, generally racist, nationalistic, chauvinistic British bulldogs, proud wavers of the Union Jack and standard bearers (at a time when Enoch Powell was talking about the race ‘problem’ turning Britain’s streets into “rivers of blood”) of the Keep Britain White fanatics. Richard Allen’s Skinhead chronicles are full of sickening accounts of violence against blacks. And, for that matter, homosexuals. As the ’70s progressed, the skinhead faction began to shrink, boiling down to the hardcore rump of the ‘Oi’ movement, overtly racist nutters served musically by groups like The 4-Skins and Skrewdriver and responsible for the Southall riots when an Asian pub was fire-bombed. And although the cultural signals of shaving your head and wearing boots have remained confusing (no-one’s calling Sinead a fascist!) it’s undoubtedly true that in recent times, the skinhead has enjoyed a new lease of life in France, Italy, Scandinavia and especially Germany, as the vanguard of the post-Wall revival in Nazism. Are their flag-waving certainties and xenophobic imagery fit icons for him to be playing with, however cleverly?

The language used throughout the article is leading, loaded, and sexualised – the NME wondered how far his infatuation had gone, hoped his thrills with Mensi, a good guy, were only vicarious, but feared he was there to meet his desired skins in nail varnish. The shadowy iconography could be innocent, but, like his sexuality, it’s ambiguous. He could be actively seeking a less pleasant new image; he won’t let them near to find out.

How far has his infatuation with the skins and their paraphernalia gone? (NME, 1992)

Angelic Upstarts, a skinhead band, playing to an audience of skinheads, with a Union Jack.

He’s still got the rockabilly quiff, sure, but recently, as the pictures scattered around these five pages show, he’s taken to presenting himself with the iconography of the shadowy nationalistic right. Union Jack badges … Union Jack flags … cross of Saint George T-shirts … Oi T-shirts … suedehead backdrops; all innocent enough in their own right (or at least safely ambiguous) but, again, collected together they present a sorry and worrying spectacle. He’s also spent time recently with Mensi from right-on skins the Angelic Upstarts who, as a decidedly good guy, perhaps provides the Moz with a safe route to vicarious skinhead thrills. (NME, 1992)

Ian Stuart Donaldson, lead singer of Skrewdriver, on the left, Suggs, lead singer of Madness, in the middle, 1970s https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/43221-madness-frontman-suggs-tells-life-story-at-2012-edinburgh-fringe/

And finally, given Madness’ sad and unwanted link with the National Front skin faction, why did he choose to make his only UK appearance so far this year at the Finsbury Park bash? Precisely to address his desired new congregation of ‘skinheads in nail varnish’?

What about the second contributory strand to Morrissey’s current problems, his apparent decline from blessed and effortless surfer on the golden wave of pop fortune, to unreliable, grudge-bearing seige-mentality curmudgeon? From a distance (and Morrissey doesn’t allow journalists any nearer), it all looks like one of two things: either he’s just lost all sense of judgement and subsequently effective control over his career, or he’s got it all perfectly under control and is actively seeking a new and less-pleasant-than-the-last image. (NME, 1992)

When he was in the Smiths, the press mocked his sexuality – but thought he was sexless.

Our Ste’s looking a bit weepy… Them daffs’ve got a touch of the Larry Graysons, haven’t they? But he bought them, mind. He didn’t pick them from Piccadilly Gardens. Look at them sequins! You just can’t keep him from meddling in his Mam’s sewing box. (NME, 24 March 1984) Larry Grayson was a camp comedian. https://www.camdennewjournal.co.uk/article/people-used-to-think-being-gay-meant-you-were-larry-grayson

The Smiths perverse glamour lay in their self-denial… [thier] manifesto of vengeneance on the world through disability, withdrawl and asexuality (it was impossible to imagine that Morrissey actually had a penis) was immensely attractive… It is now widely assumed that most of Morrissey’s lyrics were coded references to homosexuality… the male is invariably feminised… “This Charming Man”, which first aroused the is-Morrissey-gay debate, is way too obscure to fathom… (Simon Price, Melody Maker, 15 August 1992)

By the late 1980s they panicked that he might be a sexually active gay man – with a fanbase of teenage boys – who were desperate to touch him.

Bona Drag, 1990. The title means good outfit, in Polari, a secret gay/theatrical language used when homosexuality was illegal. The song Picadilly Palare, is about male prostitutes, and palare is alterntive spelling of polari. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20180212-polari-the-code-language-gay-men-used-to-survive

The NME warned him that his sexual ambiguity could end his career. Which mutates into an accusation that he’s equivocal about Englishness.

If Morrissey has sinned in his rise to self-styled King of the Western World then it must surely have been indulging in his only weakness, which he himself credited as being a ‘listed crime’… it is Morrissey’s own ambiguity which has led to what many people insist on hinting at as being a somewhat spectacular cover-up… apart from a very early interview with our own Cath Carroll where Morrissey spoke directly about the eroticism of the male body (and an interview in a lesser rag that was littered with tawdry references to public toilets), Morrissey has rarely been questioned about the highly sexual nature of his lyrics… As it is, without wishing to undermine his aggressive challenge to the staid institution of compulsory heterosexuality and monogamy, I find it hard to believe that it is a Crown Prince Of Celibacy who is responsible for such knowing or flirtatious songs as ‘Late Night, Maudlin Street’, ‘Reel Around The Fountain’, ‘Hand In Glove’ and ‘Alsatian Cousin’. Or for the specifically sexual visual control of his image, from the topless NME front cover to the particularly lustful dancing of the young tearaway hoodlum on the new video… Maybe it is this over-enthusiastic curiosity from fans that forewarns him of a more offensive and dangerous threat to the often remarkable relationship with his art and his audience that he has developed – ie from the blood-hungry tabloids. If this is the case, then Morrissey should be wary of the fate that killed off both his heroes Wilde and Dean… (James Brown, NME, February 1989) https://www.nme.com/features/morrissey-talks-sex-stalkers-and-the-smiths-in-classic-nme-interview-756834

How has Morrissey come to this none-too-pretty pass? The answer comes in the convergence of two trends that have intensified as his post-Smiths career has developed. The first is his penchant for clever but equivocal lyrics (and, in fact, interview statements) about ‘Englishness’, ‘Britain’, insiders, outsiders and belonging. Wittingly or otherwise, he has continued to pick away at the scab of race relations in this country. (NME, 1992)

Sounds, January 1989

In-coming NME editor, Steve Sutherland, had written a homophobic review of his Hulmerist VHS implying he was abusing his fans via his t-shirts. The NME ridiculously linked his t-shirts to a flirtation with racism.

The faint hint of homoeroticism around “The Last of the International Playboys”… opens a whole different can of worms. Is the tee shirt thing a sick joke – the celebrated celibate getting his kicks sticking to the sweaty skin of every boy and girl in the hall? From “Playboy”, with Mozzer like a stripper constantly tugging at his neckline and threatening to expose a nipple… [to] barely able to sing “Sister I’m a Poet” for the boys invading the stage and embracing him… (Steve Sutherland, Melody Maker, 26 May 1990)

Morrissey’s flirtation with racism didn’t really begin until The Smiths split and he became a law unto himself, gleefully wearing his own T-shirts, aspiring to be the consummate egotist. (NME, 22 August 1992)

NME caption: some of the 1, 200 kids waiting to meet Morrissey, NME, 22 August 1992

The NME’s concerns about his ‘sway’ over the minds of ‘a generation’ echo social fears that predatory older gay men corrupt children, then playing out in a fierce debate about lowering the gay age of consent from 21 to 16. In Ireland (where most of Morrissey’s family are from) male homosexuality was illegal until 1993.

Firstly, Morrissey has held, and continues to hold, sway over the minds of a generation who take tips from his every utterance, try to model themselves on his sense of fashion and live their lives at least partly according to codes he’s laid down with a flourish (just try imagining the number of people who converted to vegetarianism upon hearing The Smiths’ ‘Meat Is Murder’). (NME, 1992)

At Glastonbury, where this paper was one of the sponsors, kids came to the NME tent and literally wept about Morrissey’s absence. (NME, 1992)

Sad, young male, Morrissey fans, NME, 22 August 1992

The point about “protecting the young” was made over and over again. Lynette Burrows in The Sunday Telegraph (7 Jun) based her objections to any change on the idea that adolescent boys are easily persuaded to give up their heterosexuality by “predatory homosexuals who would gain most if they were allowed to recruit from among them… One must conclude that the basis for the relentless self-advertisement of many homosexuals is related to this desire to recruit new partners. Many are dedicated to the untrammelled appetite for sex that… often results in degradation and disease. It is… a life-style that can easily be portrayed to a vulnerable teenager as the answer to all his problems of identity and sexual longing.” (Media Watch, Gay Times, July 1992)

They don’t have a snowball’s hope in hell of getting this through… There is a small minority of paedophile homosexuals who want to corrupt and ensnare youngsters. They must be stopped at all costs. (Geoffrey Dickens MP, the Daily Star, April 1992)

Six months before Finsbury Park, the NME had featured a Union Jack on their cover, alongside a celebration of young female groupies.

NME, 20 March 1992

Which makes their demand that Morrissey explain himself for getting attacked, while dancing in a glittering shirt because it’s markedly different, suggestive.

All this is sad, but not as sad as the day Morrissey appeared on the Madness bill at Finsbury Park, and danced around with a Union Jack draped around his glittering shirt during ‘Glamorous Glue’. For his pains, he was attacked with various minor missiles by an unruly element in the audience, but anyone could have told him that there was a small but vocal contingent of Seig Heiling skins in the audience… Of course, one realises that The Jam used the flag to optimum effect when they were in existence, but they explained themselves by claiming they were reclaiming the flag from The Far Right. In the ’60s The Who were also notorious flag-wavers, but those were markedly different times and both the NF and the BNP didn’t exist in the same form (a vocal micro-minority) then. Morrissey, however, must be aware of what flag-waving means in the Euro-90s… (NME, 1992)

Describing him as a shallow, laughable, eccentric who wants to be a teenager, is less like a violent racist, and more like a gay stereotype.

But then, along with being an English eccentric who wishes he was a teenager in the ’50s, Morrissey has often been attracted to surface gloss, to style-over-content. Is he satisfied, this way? Would he like to be a laughing stock? (NME, 1992)

They demanded an interview. Morrissey refused.

Morrissey was told of both the general gist and some particulars of this piece and asked for his comments and if he was prepared to do a full scale interview. He responded, through the press office, with the following statement: ‘My lawyers are poised. NME have been trying to end my career for four years and year after year they fail. This year they will also fail.” (NME, 1992)

Students protested, beneath a Union Jack that decorated the entrance to EMI.

NME, September 1992

The band Cornershop burned his picture.

27 years later, the Guardian, would use the 3 minutes he held a flag to ask if he was showing his true colours.

The Guardian, May 1992. Love Music Hate Racism, an anti-racism charity, used Madstock to claim he a long history of supporting Far Right organisations: Morrissey might have just been looking for some temporary credibility from Love Music Hate Racism. Certainly, the long history of support for racist and far right organisations speaks to something else. We certainly wouldn’t be taking any further donations from Morrissey‘ (Zak Cochrane, the Guardian, May 2019) 

Maybe the NME wanted to kill his career:

Moz is history, and we’d all do well to learn it. (Andrew Collins, NME, April 1992)

… a lack of grace and control… seems to have become endemic in dealings with him; a career that once looked effortless, touched by the hand of God almost, has now become characterised by a series of feuds, upsets, no-shows and general tetchiness. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Or ‘out’ him without risking a libel trial as catastrophic as The Face losing to Jason Donovan in May 1992 over their ‘Queer As F*ck’ issue. https://gtmediawatch.org/1965/07/01/gay-times-may-1992/

Jason Donovan, leaving the High Court, 3 April 1992

Or both. Sire had sidelined the Smiths in America after Rolling Stone labeled Morrissey gay.

A piece in Rolling Stone claimed Morrissey was gay, completely contradicting his stand against sexual roles and their divisive consequences. “That brought a lot of problems for me”, he recalls ruefully. “Of course I never made such a statement”, Immediately their American record company, Sire, recoiled from supporting The Smiths. “They were petrified”, he remembers with disgust. “I thought that kind of writing epitomised the mentality of the American music press. That sicking macho stuff. After it appeared in Rolling Stone it ran rife through the lesser known publications, which to me was profoundly dull”. (Melody Maker, November 1984) https://illnessasart.com/2020/01/05/melody-maker-3-november-1984/

In 2001, Andrew Collins thought Dele Fadele being their only black writer justified the homophobia.

The publicity around Out: the skin complex mentioned that some gay black men were angry that it was hard to tell a gay skinhead from a violent skinhead. Morrissey’s quiff & gold lame shirt – as well as the description of him as ‘prancing’ & the fact he was attacked by the homophobic crowd – wouldn’t cause that problem. (Also the irony of Andrew calling him a cultural tourist for holding a Union Jack – the UK’s national flag – after the NME accused him of bile for the line ‘life is hard enough when you belong here’. Morrissey doesn’t belong here?)

I never said the Morrissey witch-hunt issue was ‘real journalism’, Jon. I said it was “real” journalism, ie. closer to real journalism than the shit we usually did. I was at Madstock and the crowd was pretty dodgy… Whether Moz is/was a racist or not was less important than the fact that he was flirting with far right imagery – like a cultural tourist – and not going on record about his real reasons, or his real feelings. He could have stopped that cover story with one statement. He chose to remain enigmatic and distant, compounding his error… At first, as features editor, I refused to get involved, but I was ordered by my boss into an emergency staff meeting, and once the decision was made, it was up to the senior staff (me Danny Kelly, and Stuart Maconie) to get the copy done, along with an excellent piece by Dele Fadele who is black and could therefore give a perspective none of us NME white boys could. (Dele was furious about Moz’s actions and needed no coercion to write.) All I did was compile Morrissey’s faux-racist quotes from every interview he’d ever done, and collate the lyrics… We did our job. (Andrew Collins, Angelfire, Re NME disappearing up its own PR, 26 July 2001) https://www.angelfire.com/super/sotcaabits/forums/nme01.html

The skinhead look is a dominant one in the gay scene at the moment,’ according to Harvey Gillis, fashion editor of Boyz magazine. ‘It’s a fashion statement not a political one.’ Some black gays oppose the trend because of the difficulty in separating violent fascists from the simply fashion-conscious. (Martin Wroe, the Independent, 26th July 1992) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/reformed-fascist-ready-to-admit-homosexuality-martin-wroe-reports-on-the-conversion-of-a-right-winger-that-highlights-a-thriving-gay-fashion-1535856.html?amp

In the mid-90s, Morrissey was rumoured to be in a relationship with Jake Walters.

Morrissey and Jake Walters, 1994. Following the revelation of his first serious relationship with a man in his new book Autobiography, Morrissey has issued a clarification about his sexuality. “Unfortunately, I am not homosexual,” he wrote from Sweden in a note posted on fansite True to You. “In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course, not many.” (Guardian Music, the Guardian, 21 October 2013)

The press kept obsessing about his sexual and ethnic ambiguity.

Morrissey intends to remain undefinable. He’s a conversational escapologist, eluding any attempt to pin him down. Take, for example, his sexuality. It’s 20 years since Rolling Stone magazine described him as gay, much to his annoyance, and he still refuses to specify. Often he denies any kind of sex life at all. That’s his business, but it’s a long time to maintain ambiguity... On his new single, Irish Blood, English Heart, he sings of “standing by the flag not feeling shameful, racist or partial”. He’s referring to his notorious performance at Madness’s Madstock weekender in 1992, when he wrapped himself in a Union flag and was branded a racist by the music press, casting a long shadow over his solo career… Could he not have simply explained his intentions? “Well, you know, I haven’t just arrived from the village,” he snaps. “I did think of all these things. I knew the people I was dealing with and there was no point in reaching out to them. It’s more dignified to step away than to run towards them and say, ‘Please forgive me for something I haven’t done.’ (Dorian Lynskey, the Guardian, 9 April 2004) https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2004/apr/09/shopping.morrissey

In 2002, the NME accused him of giving the illusion of intimacy while never discussing his sexuality, and of being – ambiguous, unambiguous, brutally upfront and distastefully infatuated, with racism.

He fastidiously cultivated his own eccentricities into an iconography. A depressive nature could be a flamboyant selling point… An unspecified sexualality could be ruthlessly exploited, especially when there was speculation of a homoerotic tension between him and his stoic foil, Johnny Marr… Morrissey always chose to be brutally upfront about certain subjects: his hatred of black music for one thing [he didn’t hate black music]... but on matters of sexuality, he was tantalisingly ambiguous… denying that he was a bitter and twisted individual… Here was Oscar Wilde reborn… what was curious was his sense of persecution… “… if I rescued a kitten from drowning they’d say, Morrissey Mauls Kitten’s Body. What can you do?” Milk it, some would say… Only when he began to… offend the liberal [leftist] sensibilitiesdid the love affair start to founder… In June ’86… ‘Panic’ was both brilliant and newsworthy, pivoting as it did on a chorus of ‘hang the DJ’. After Morrissey’s previous comments on black music [all he’d said prior to the Frank Owen ‘Panic’ interview was: reggae is vile, in a joke quiz, in 1985], certain critics saw the line as implicitly racist, an attack on the predominantly black DJ culture of the time [the DJ culture of 1986 was not predominantly black]… to imagine that Morrissey hadn’t considered the statement’s ambiguity would be to credit him with implausible naivety… a certain discomfort with Morrissey… began to flourish… ‘Bengali In Platforms presented a character study many saw as racially patronising… On August 22 [it was the 8th] at a gig supporting Madness in London’s Finsbury Park… he waved a Union Jack – in spite of the fact that the gig was known to have attracted a number of skinheads who would have interpreted the gesture unambiguously… [an] article calmly examined what it interpreted as a distasteful infatuation with the imagery of British racists… One of Morrissey’s most potent skills was to encourage an illusion of intimacy, appearing to confess, when in fact he was being scrupulously protective of his private life – never openly discussing his sexuality – for example… We ridiculed him, demonised him, accidentally split up his band… but for a few magnificent years, we were bewitched by him like no one before or since. (NME, 20 April 2002)

In 2004, You Are The Quarry, gave him a brief respite.

… excised from the hearts of many, horrified by the messy “flirtation” with racist imagery. (Victoria Segal, NME, November 1999)

… nevermind the shaky accusations of racism… all those years of being Mother Teresa for the clumsy and shy and suddenly he was being reviled for crimes he’d never committed. (Victoria Segal, Mojo, May 2004)

But in 2007, the NME hyped some mild comments about immigration and reprinted the Finsbury Park story. The writer, Tim Jonze, moved to the Guardian and used its clout and his connections to persecute him. https://folk-devil.com/2022/07/05/immigration/

Len Brown’s biography has come under fire in the September issue of Q magazine. Dorian Lynskey, who interviewed Morrissey for The Guardian back in 2004, argues the book is “fundamentally flawed” because of Brown’s “20-year relationship” with the artist. He accuses the ex-NME journalist of “having no flair for narrative” and also complains that Brown “fudges the issue of the singer’s contentious statements about national identity”. The review awards the book three stars but is headlined “Friend Of Mozzer Pens Biography – Thorny Subjects Ignored”. (Anonymous, Morrissey Solo, 9 September 2008)

Dele Fadele died in 2018. In his belated Guardian obituary, Jonze, managed to echo the homophobia of 1992.

I’m surprised that it has taken so long for the press to get round to “The Secret Gay Life of Star Frankie” (Sunday Mirror, 9 Aug). I don’t know who is supposed to be surprised by the knowledge that Frankie Howerd was gay, but apparently the papers find it “shocking”. Of course, as they tell it, the comedian’s gay nature was part of his “dark side” . (Media Watch, Gay Times, September 1992)

[Dele summed up] the dark side of Morrissey... [he] famously helped persuade the magazine’s staff to run its Flying the flag or flirting with disaster? cover story, which called out their most bankable star Morrissey’s dalliance with the far right for the first time. (The former Smiths man refused to talk to the paper for more than a decade after it was published; his reputation remains tarnished to this day.)… It was in 1992, though, that Dele played his most pivotal role. He had attended Madstock in Finsbury Park, the now-notorious gig in which support artist Morrissey draped himself in the union jack, a move some saw as a move pandering to the crowd’s skinhead element… Dele was appalled by what he’d witnessed… “It was Dele’s finest hour,” recalls Andrew Collins, who along with then-editor Danny Kelly reworked the cover around Dele’s critical piece – an arduous process to do at the last minute back then. “He wrote from the heart – and, uniquely among the staff – from an actual vantage point. [Dele was’t gay] This was not a moment to be lily-livered and Dele seized the day. It was a turning point for Moz’s provocations. Dele wrote if not his most important piece, certainly one that gave urgency and weight to an otherwise hand-wringing situation.” (Tim Jonze, the Guardian, September 2020) https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/sep/14/dele-fadele-remembered-nme

For 30 years (and counting) Morrissey has been called a racist because he was the victim of a homophobic hate crime.

He’s been dehumanised, demonised, and made a pariah.

His public image has fused with Nicky Crane – a bad gay – toxic, vicious, fascist. His moving solo work synonymous with Skrewdriver.

Side Note: My Favourite Worst Nightmare – Morrissey & Madstock

Of course, I was only through the Park gates for a few moments when a lager-swilling huddle of bovver-booted neo-Nazis spotted my quiff and garb and blew poisoned kisses in my direction, tweeting, ‘ooh, Morrissey, Morrissey!'” “Meanwhile, Morrissey, a Liberace shirt slung over his skinny frame, is waving these fascist-spawned monsters’ Union Flag at them while relating the experience of Davey, the young man who went to the National Front Disco’; if ever there was an sudden irony failure at NME, who’d slated Morrissey’s solo work for not treading on the taboos of old’, it was right here. Only a couple of years later, they would laud Britpop and the reclaiming of the British flag, yet here, it was Morrissey, and not this foul minority in Madness’s audience, who they cast as the racist.” “Morrissey finished his otherwise triumphant set early and failed to show for day two; Suggs never mentioned, nor was he ever quizzed upon, his band’s neo-fascist supporters’ behaviour that day. Meanwhile, me and my fellow Moz heads made our tremulous way to the tube station, well before midnight, in blissful ignorance of just how this story was about to be spun by the popular music press we’d supported for years; so long as we remember exactly what took place that day, the chroniclers and revisionists can simply get on with glossing over the inconvenient truth.” (Johnnie Craig, State, 11 October 2009) https://web.archive.org/web/20131027211741/http://state.ie/features/archive/my-favourite-worst-nightmare-morrissey-madstock

Side Note 2: the artistic closet

“Outside” effectively marked the end of George Michael’s career as a serious artist. Not because “coming out” turned the straight world against him, but because, paradoxically, it meant that he could no longer write about “inside” feelings honestly. He could only be a spokesperson. (Mark Simpson, Salon, 30 April 2004) https://www.salon.com/2004/04/30/morrissey/

Side Note 3: Homophobia has never been taken as seriously as racism – and racism has been used as a reason for ignoring homophobia. In 1992 Buju Banton released a song with lyrics about torturing and killing gay men. The Guardian accused gay rights campaigners who complained of being racist. And found it easy to accept his explanation that it wasn’t literal.

In the 11 years since Buju Banton released his single Boom Bye Bye, which appeared to advocate shooting gay men, the singer has done much to shake off the controversy that surrounded him… Banton pointed out that he wasn’t literally advocating murder, but maintained that homosexuality was against his religious beliefs… Banton is fiery enough to make me feel personally responsible for every British injustice towards Jamaica in the past 300 years. (Dorian Lynskey, The Guardian, March 2003) https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/mar/03/artsfeatures.popandrock

In 2009, Buju would meet with gay rights activists in San Francisco, but went on to blame them for a pepper spray attack: This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs ‘there is no end to the war between me and faggot’ and it’s clear. The same night after I met with [gay activists], they pepper-sprayed the concert. So what are you trying to tell me? I owe dem nothing, they don’t owe I nothing.”https://www.queerty.com/buju-banton-met-with-the-gays-then-he-spat-in-their-faces-20091016

Side Note 4: the NME’s claim they were just as hard on Eric Clapton, David Bowie & Elvis Costello is untrue.

So why, at the end of all this, is NME bothering? Why are our knickers in such a twist? Well, there’s nothing new in this. In the past, when the likes of Eric Clapton, David Bowie and even Elvis Costello have dipped their unthinking toes into these murky waters, the music press have been equally quick on the case. And Morrissey, unlike, say, a bigoted idiot like Ice Cube, holds tremendous sway over thousands of fans in Britain and is generally regarded as one of our most intelligent rock performers. Therefore when he sends out signals on subjects as sensitive as those discussed above there seems little room for playfulness, never mind ambiguity. In Europe in 1992, with ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ a reality and the new Nazis on the rise across the continent, the need for clear thinking and clear statements is more acute than ever. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Eric sailed past an anti-racist letter appealing to his better self into 1980s rock aristocracy while still supporting Enoch Powell. The worst it got for David Bowie was the NME faking the picture of a Nazi salute that became gossipy rocklore (although it might be significant that he dropped his gay alien persona for something more hetero). And the NME refused to believe that Elvis Costello could mean it when he called James Brown a “jive-arsed n——” and Ray Charles a “blind, ignorant n——.”

Eric: https://genius.com/Red-saunders-letter-to-the-uk-music-press-regarding-eric-clapton-annotated

David: http://www.chalkiedavies.com/blog/b9wr8hr5mr79wkkbx83lf8cd7p54f7

Elvis: http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/New_Musical_Express,_October_30,_1982

Side Note 5: The Union Jack is ubiquitous in UK culture – at no point in our history has it ever been a clear signal of fascism or has it needed to be reclaimed from the far right. Some comrades on the hard left hate it as a symbol of the British Empire, but that’s a minority opinion.

Brand Britain: Milk Bottle, British Airways Advert, Vimto Sparkling Fruit Juice mascot, skinhead fashion.

Skinheads were a working-class subculture that spanned the political spectrum and listened to Reggae, Punk and their variants. They had widespread coverage in the press, including in the NME.

NME, 6 August 1977

The Full Morrissey

In line with the comforting theory that all radicals become reactionary before they threaten your aga and with Morrissey being the worst example, people asserted that if John Lennon hadn’t been murdered by a fan, he would have gone full Morrissey.

In a similar way, George Michael, was posthumously recognised as having all of the good qualities people had mistakenly assigned to Morrissey.

(They’re wrong about the clip. Morrissey is talking about authenticity in art. George is concerned about the fame game. They’re both smart.)

On a side note: while he was alive, George was hounded for his sexuality, fought to escape a stifling record contract and was mocked for his drug addiction, cottaging exposés and car accidents.

And sometimes still is.

England’s Quare Cancer – Morrissey and Nostalgia

Morrissey was born into an Irish Catholic family, grew up as part of the minority Irish Catholic community and lived between Dublin and Manchester. He talked about his struggles to belong and make sense of his Irish and English identity in light of Ireland’s colonisation by England/the British Empire. He comforted himself with the idea that even if he felt out of place, English people also had life hard. And he knew the pain of parting as family members moved abroad.

It was a constant confusion to me why I never really felt ‘This is my patch. This is my home. I know these people. I can do what I like, because this is mine.’ It never was. I could never walk easily. (Morrissey, Melody Maker, September 1986)

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… this was back in the 1960s when it was a bitter and malevolent slur. But that’s how Manchester people are – they’re extremely critical of everything and everybody… I used to come back to Dublin… the people seemed happier and more carefree and Crumlin seemed so open – certainly more so than the confines of Hulme. We were quite happy to ghettoise ourselves as the Irish community in Manchester, the Irish stuck rigidly together. (Morrissey, Irish Times, 20 November 1999) https://www.irishtimes.com/news/paddy-english-man-part-1-1.252576

Obviously the Irish feel resentment towards England because England has historically been so appalling to Ireland. So it was somewhat confusing for me growing up… England has been a bully and is a bully. (Morrissey, Mojo, June 2004)

We had waved goodbye to Mary at Manchester Airport, a US emigree in her nineteenth year, and to never again be a Manchester lass. We all cry uncontrollably as Mary’s flight is called – a much loved branch hacked away. (Morrissey, Autobiography, 2013)

In Viva Hate every protagonist is dislocated in some way, and they’re all harried. Bengali in Platforms is consistent with the album, his lived experience of not fitting in, & Ireland’s vein of wistful, bittersweet, cautionary songs about the ‘curse of emigration’.

There’s a graveyard in Tir Conaill,where the blossoms sadly grow, There’s a sorrow stricken mother,kneeling o’re that lonely grave. My Noreen,oh my Noreen its lonesome since you’ve gone, Twas the shame of emigration,laid you low my Noreen Bawn. (Neil McBride, folk song, from Donegal, Ireland, 1910) https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/entertainment/songs-of-irish-emigration-exile

The NME said it was a “convoluted diatribe against assimilation” (22 August 1992) and reprinted Q’s assessment from March 1988 that: In Morrissey’s mind, (‘Bengali In Platforms’) may be a profound statement about personal alienation, but unfortunately it would go down very well at a singalong after a National Front picnic.

David Stubbs, thought all black and Asian people were interchangeable, and hit on the Irish stereotype of the Thick Paddy.

The appalling Bengali In Platforms, quintessentially Morrissey, Morrissey the Diana Ross hating Morrissey… dumb… embarrassing… a caring call to the sartorially inept Asian… appallingly patronising… deals with an outmoded stereotype… [should be about] the snappily-dressed Punjabi…. [Morrissey is] our last idiot. (David Stubbs, Melody Maker, 19 March 1988)

Along with temper, aggressiveness, deceit and a natural penchant for alcohol, one of the oldest and most enduring putative characteristics of the Irishman was his atavistic ignorance or, at best, his inveterate illogicality. The Irishman’s intellectual deficit, characterised by bulls, blunders and malapropisms, made him a lamentable figure of fun. (James McCabe, Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, 2008) https://books.openedition.org/pufr/5076

A consensus formed that Morrissey was telling immigrants to get out of the country.

the lyrics to Bengali In Platforms (“It’s hard enough when you belong here” – implication: you don’t) had long rubbed liberals up the wrong way, even though he was simpy addressing what he’d seen around him in multicultural Manchester. (Andrew Collins, his blog, 28 November 2007)

And that he was nostalgic for “an enclosed world that ends in roughly 1964, at some sort of point just before large-scale migration from the cotton districts of south Asia into the cotton districts of the North West of England” (Owen Hatherley, Verso, 31 March 2020).

In fact, South Asians arrived in the 1950s, and lived in the same immigrant slums as the Irish. And it was those immigrant slums that Morrissey was nostalgic for, never recovering from the trauma of the slum clearances, as communities were ripped apart by nice, well-meaning, middle-class people for their own good, and exiled into “ugly new houses”.

In a way it was like having one’s childhood wiped away. In Queen’s Square, my grandmother occupied the fourth house. We occupied the fifth house. And the sixth house was occupied by my mother’s sister and her family. So it was a very strong community and it was very tight. Very solid. And it was also quite happy. Well there’s nothing at Queen’s Square now… everything has just vanished. It’s just like the whole thing has been completely erased from the face of the earth. I feel great anger. I feel massive sadness. It’s like a complete loss of childhood. Because although I’ve always lived in Manchester, and I’ve always lived relatively close to here, to this part of Manchester, now… it’s just so foreign to me. And that’s quite sad, I think. (Morrissey, Oxford Road Show, BBC 2, 22 March 1985)

Morrissey’s lost England

In the Smiths his nostalgia was part of his oddity – because he was camp (the gay antiques dealer being a common stereotype) or because he was a nerd obsessively collecting pictures of old dead film stars, or a congenital idiot.

We afford [Morrissey] the sort of license that’s normally extended to children and idiots; sensing the presence of an innocence and simplicity that’s been civilised out of the rest of us. (Paul Du Noyer, NME, 16 February 1985)

The accusation that he’s nostalgic for a Green and Pleasant, white, Nationalist, Little England comes from the NME’s 1992 homophobic hit piece.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating England or Britain… but… once you start cavorting with the Union Jack, with all its ambiguities, and surrounding yourself with the paraphernalia and imagery of the skinhead cult, then that celebration has moved… into… dangerous territory. And that territory is not the green and pleasant land of Morrissey’s dreams... “Take me back to dear old Blighty…” So sang Cicely Courtneidge in The L-Shaped Room, as grafted onto the evocative intro to ‘The Queen Is Dead”s opening title track. The ’60s kitchen sink movie is one of Morrissey’s pet favourites; the use of the patriotic pub singalong a mere atmosphere-setting quirk on an album littered with ambiguous pro/anti-nationalist signals. But, as ever with the controversy-courting bard of Whalley Range, it conjures images of Old England, Dunkirk spirit, British bulldog nostalgia and — stop us if you’ve heard this one before… (NME, 22 August 1992)

Morrissey advocates a cricket green England, an England where we tolerate immigration in small numbers, an England where it’s exotic to have a ‘brown’ neighbour… ‘Shelve your Western plans’ is a synonym for ‘England for the English’. It’s ‘go home P***’ in more poetic language with a prettier tune. (Martin Rossiter, the Quietus, 26 May 2017)

After that any reference to England in his work was heavily policed and maligned.

We are, this time round, spared any dubious songs about Bengalis who don’t belong here or visits to fascist discos. (“I didn’t invent the Union Jack” he sulked to a journalist recently, adding that he “didn’t understand the fascist implications of it”. Morrissey didn’t invent being an issue-fudging twat either.) There are no ballads. The twinkling insouciance of ‘Kill Uncle’ and the razor glam of ‘Your Arsenal’ are absent. Instead, Moz and the gang give RCA what they want, which is a loud mess to sell to America… In the end, there’s no reason why anyone who already owns a record made by Morrissey – or, more particularly, The Smiths – should even want to hear this record, let alone buy it. Its maker should call himself The Morrissey Formerly Known As Artiste. (David Quantick, NME, August 1995)

Certainly, the paper-thin caricature Englishness of much of Maladjusted is likely to go down much better with Americans, for whom the title-track’s mentions of the Fulham Road and “a Stevenage overspill” might yet retain a little declasse glamour. (Andy Gill, the Independent, August 1997)

In an era when every other UK artist was dripping in Union Jacks he was disparaged for writing a gay love song set in a part of London where he had lived.

Your leg came to rest against mine
Then you lounged with knees up and apart
And me and my heart, we knew
We just knew
For evermore
Where taxi drivers never stop talking
Under slate grey Victorian sky
Here you’ll find, my heart and I
And still we say come back
Come back to Camden
And I’ll be good, I’ll be good, I’ll be good, I’ll be good (Morrissey, lyrics Come Back to Camden, from the album You Are The Quarry, 2004)

The Smiths currently cast a longer shadow over British alt-rock than at any time since their 1987 split. You can hear their echoes in Franz Ferdinand and British Sea Power, while the Libertines appear to have been formed specifically to appeal to Morrissey: songs about a lost Albion and an on-stage penchant for gorblimey shirts-off male-bonding that frequently leaves them looking less like a rock band than something invented by Joe Orton… the lyrics seem trapped in the past: not the mythic pre-Beatles England that Morrissey’s songs usually evoke, but the less romantic environs of the mid-1990s… Irish Blood, English Heart makes a fuss about “standing by the flag not feeling shameful, racist or partial”, unaware that everyone else worked that one out around the time Geri Halliwell turned up at the Brits wearing a union flag miniskirt. Come Back to Camden offers a vision of Englishness so caricatured it would have caused the lowliest Britpopper to scoff: cockney cabbies, bad weather, tea. The urge to hit fast-forward before he mentions bowler hats, Yorkshire pudding or lovable chimney sweeps is quelled only by the song’s enrapturing melody. (Alex Petridis, the Guardian, May 2004)

A song about his clashing Irish-English identity had the Irish erased.

There’s a perfectly good anti-racist argument for allowing English ethnicity to speak its name, after all. The assumptions (expressed sotto voice, but unmistakably there) behind so much multi-culturalism weirdly duplicate those of imperialism: other people have ‘cultures’; we are normal. (Mark Fisher, K-Punk, July 2004) http://k-punk.org/slate-grey-victorian-sky/

This is the sort of ambiguous comment which seems to invite an assenting nod of the head but could easily have been uttered by Nigel Farage. Similarly, ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’, in which he sang, I’ve been dreaming of a time when/ To be English is not to be baneful /To be standing by the flag not feeling shameful/ Racist or partial/ Irish blood, English heart, this I’m made of /There is no one on earth I’m afraid of/ And I will die with both of my hands untied.” Ever since then, dog whistle by increasingly unsubtle dog whistle, living in splendid isolation from his home country and the consequences of his remarks, Morrissey has put himself beyond, and further beyond the pale. (David Stubbs, the Quietus, 4 July 2019)

Aptly the pale was a fence around English controlled areas of Ireland – beyond it was the savage Irish.

Morrissey was both cast out of & made to represent everything evil and wrong about England & the British Empire.

Morrissey is now, of course, almost a stateless person, although his seven years in Los Angeles don’t appear to have brought any great insight into either his new homeland or his old one. (Andy Gill, the Independent, 14 May 2004)

Morrissey has long since ceased to be worthy of cultural assessment; he no longer deserves to be part of that conversation. He has come to represent… something nasty, reactionary and dangerous in our culture, a poisonous voice at this critical point in Britain’s island history. Something has hardened like a tumour inside him over the years; what was once whimsical, amusing, pop-culturally apposite, is now the stuff of disease. (David Stubbs, the Quietus, 4 July 2019)

There followed the usual trawls through his cuttings file, where plenty of material awaited. From 1986: “To get on Top Of The Pops these days one has to be, by law, black.” Circa 1992: “I don’t really think … black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other.” And what about this peach, uttered three years ago? “The higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears.” As ugly as they seem – and to be more generous than he perhaps deserves – his views are not a matter of vicious, programmatic racism, but the same thinking that lies behind the more hard-bitten calls to Radio 4’s Any Answers: achingly conservative, terrified of difference, and in mourning for a lost country even the angriest white man might not actually like to live in...
Unlike plenty of other genres, its practitioners tend to pride themselves on an inclusive, liberal outlook, seen in an admirable campaign called Love Music Hate Racism (to which Morrissey made a donation in 2008, after the hoo-ha about his views on “British identity”). Indie’s home turf is urban bohemia, where diversity and difference are taken as read. But in his own gruesome way Morrissey embodies its contradictory collective id: a bundle of conservatism, parochialism and generic navel-gazing... In keeping with his catholic tastes, Albarn – a passionate fan of the music of west Africa – was performing alongside Bobby Womack, the rap trio De La Soul, and Snoop Dogg, but swarms of people soon departed the main arena in search of something more comforting. Presumably they were after some of the plodding, conservative fare that defines most of the rock aristocracy, and is an obligatory part of the outdoor ritual.
Morrissey, it’s fair to say, would have gone down a storm. (John Harris, the Guardian, Thu 9 Sep 2010)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/sep/09/morrissey-race-indie-back-yard

Morrissey is an extreme example of a common type [Fascista proudly racist Little-Englander… with] a nostalgia for misery, a longing for boredom… The ignorance. The pollution and the soot. The gay-bashing and the paki-bashing. The murders on the Moors… And who stands in the way of this self-aggrandisement through re-enactment? The Asians, especially the Muslims. The young. The left. The “woke”. And here, Morrissey is truly the voice of a generation. (Owen Hatherley, Verso, 31 March 2019)

And his work was stolen for the enrichment of the culture he was excluded from.

… you might have realised that our traditional national identity is crumbling around us. Any sense of imperialist superiority is disintegrating with every export barred or expat shipped home. Start a conversation with anyone with a Union Jack in their Twitter handle and you might be surprised at how little grace, discernment and gallantry ensues. Divided, exploited and at each other’s throats, we’ve so lost sight of who we are as a nation that we’re in danger of winning an international footballing semi-final on penalties. Which is why we should be protecting our prime cultural treasures at all costs. Exhibit one: The Smiths. Misery, isolation, melodic moaning, idolising American film stars and mainlining Coronation Street – could there be a more quintessentially British band? Yet over the years their legacy has been tainted by Morrissey’s support for far-right politics (among other pronouncements) and one of our greatest musical achievements has been at risk of being tipped into the ‘consequence culture’ canal. (Mark Beaumont, NME, April 2021) https://www.nme.com/features/opinion/the-smiths-morrissey-the-simpsons-2923272

Much of it driven by nostalgia. By branding Morrissey a racist they de-gay the Smiths, avoiding the discomfort of identifying with One Of Them, relegating him to an asexual ghost, rebounding on to the heterosexual axeman, replacing him with Brandon Flowers & Rick Astley.

The Smiths manifesto of vengeance on the world through disability, withdrawal and asexuality (it was impossible to imagine that Morrissey actually had a penis) was immensely attractive. (Simon Price, Melody Maker, 15 August 1992)

a lifetime of world-weary bitterness has soured the soul of Morrissey. This makes me sad, especially when one of his songs genuinely shook my self-centred 16-year-old self. In 1986 I was deeply affected by ‘I Know It’s Over’ from The Queen Is Dead and the lines “It’s so easy to laugh/ It’s so easy to hate/ It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” It would appear that, for Stephen Morrissey, hate will always be very much alive. (John Freeman, the Quietus, 13 March 2013)

… it’s time for an intervention. Johnny Marr, protector of all that is right and good about the Smiths, we need you like never before. If you can banish Cameron to the wastelands, forcing him to salvage whatever meagre delights he can from the Mighty Lemon Drops, surely you can do the same to Morrissey. Just one tweet, that’s all it would take. “I forbid Morrissey from liking the Smiths.” That’s it. Then we can band together, Samwell Tarly and all, and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our enjoyment of a perfectly good band won’t once again be tainted by the lunk-headed ravings of a professional irritant like Morrissey. (Stuart Heritage, the Guardian, 3 October 2017)

Morrissey embodied a more sensitive form of masculinity for the young me – but was I just kidding myself?… The Smiths are okay, as they predate their singer’s consistent insensitivity, but solo Morrissey isn’t. (Jordan Bassett, NME, 7 August 2019)

yeah that’s the thing. ‘reggae is vile,’ panic, bengali…it was always right there. (J Edgar Noothgrush, ilxor, 24 January 2022)

Anne Marie Waters

On the 2nd October 2017 on BBC 6 Music Live, Morrissey made a mordant joke about Anne Marie Waters losing the UKIP leadership election:

I was very surprised the other day, it was very interesting for me to see Anne Marie Waters become the head of UKIP. Oh no, sorry, she didn’t, the voting was rigged. I forgot.

Morrissey had been falsely accused of racism since 1992 when he was attacked by homophobes at Finsbury Park & the NME accused him of inciting it because of his sexuality. The false accusations – misleading quotes and paraphrasing, guilt by association, negative framing – colossally increased after NME journalist Tim Jonze rehashed the 1992 article in 2007, then became the Guardian’s music editor in 2010. 

Anne Marie Waters is a lesbian, an Irish immigrant, a feminist & a vegan. She started out on the left of politics, and had been in the Labour Party, the National Secular Society and One Law For All, a campaign to stop religious laws from overruling human rights. She had been complaining that she was driven out of the left and smeared as a racist by the media. https://www.secularism.org.uk/one-law-for-all/

Ukip MEPs Hold Secret Meeting To Discuss How To Block Anti-Islam Candidate From Leadership Contest. Anne Marie Waters is a controversial figure in the party… (Owen Bennett, Huffington Post, 11 July 2017)

My core aim is to challenge and dismantle this entire mess of media (Anne Marie Waters, Express & Star, 7 September 2017)

The MSM has, in general, lazily covered people like Waters, preferring to sneer and smear – racists, far-right, bigots, idiots et cetera… She will reply that she is in fact the anti-fascist candidate, fighting the homophobia and misogyny of Islam… And next time there is a grooming case – and there are more coming – or a terrorist attack, it will be served up as proof of spineless liberals’ virtue signalling crap. (Jamie Bartlett, Little Atoms, 24 August 2017) http://littleatoms.com/society/ann-marie-waters-versus-media

The press reaction to the joke was relentlessly negative – with a consensus building that he ‘is no longer the voice of the oppressed, but sympathetic of the oppressor.‘ (Kat Manos, the Pop Break, 28 November 2017)

But since the 58 year-old rarely grants interviews, it’s understandable why some long-term admirers have given up on the Smiths singer, who once acted as a beacon for society’s outsiders. (Adam Sherwin, i, 2nd October 2017) https://inews.co.uk/essentials/morrissey-ukip-vote-anti-islam-candidate-anne-marie-waters-rigged-94751

Morrissey’s latest outburst – a conspiracy theory about anti-Muslim politician Anne Marie Waters – ought to be the final straw for right-thinking fans of his music (Stuart Heritage, the Guardian, 3 October 2017)

In March 2018 he was particularly wounded by the Independant and the Guardian.

The Independent printed an extreme Hate Piece so loaded with vile bile that it almost choked on its own endless capacity to be appalled… When the print media are lost for a reply, they simply change the subject by naming their opponent as ‘racist’, which is the perfect ploy because most people are naturally appalled to be called racist, and they step back in silence, and the debate collapses unresolved… Is civilization over? The cannibalistic mobile grave known as The Guardian suggests so… I am neither Loony Left nor Far Right. I am a humanitarian. I have not ever once voted in a British election because I have not ever discovered a party that represents my views. My main social concern is the abolition of the abattoir, the continued existence of which in modern times is beyond sane belief. I confess that my life in music has been stunted by shyness, and this remains. I am too interior, and this can often seem like bone splitting arrogance. But it is not… I have been criticized in the UK for so long (nowhere else!) that anything said about me no longer strikes me as a threat because I am still, after all, here… Katie Boyle, who very sadly died this week, said “you have to accept [the press] telling complete lies about you. You can’t take legal action because that fans the flame.” I see what she means! (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 28 March 2018)

For Britain had been launched on the 15th October 2017 – so sometime after March 28th and before the 20th of April (23 days) – someone or something convinced him that Anne Marie’s party would abolish the meat-trade. Although he mentioned other issues in passing – “Labour are no different from the Conservatives in that they do not object to FGM, halal slaughter, child marriage, and so on. There is no moral clarity with these people” (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 16 April 2018) – it came from a sense of bewilderment that he was so vehemently condemned for anything that could be related to race or immigration – his political focus was always animal rights .

I despise racism. I despise fascism. I would do anything for my Muslim friends, and I know they would do anything for me. In view of this, there is only one British political party that can safeguard our security. That party is For Britain. Please give them a chance. Listen to them. Do not be influenced by the tyrannies of the MSM who will tell you that For Britain are racist or fascist – please believe me, they are the very opposite!!! Please do not close your mind. Labour is hopelessly naive. Theresa May’s policies have turned Britain into a international target. The BBC has closed down. The Loony Left is concerned only with victim culture. For Britain will keep British society together. Violence is not the way forward. There are many problems in modern Britain that have become too large for Theresa May to deal with – mostly because she created them in the first place. The press appear to deal only in fashionable outrage; inflammatory and unjust comments against any new party that threatens the same old bloody pointless two-party system. Please give For Britain a chance. They will bring an end to the modern Westminster mania for self-destruction. For Britain is the bulldog breed that will never surrender. Both Labour and Conservatives have already sold you down the river into righteous oblivion. This is my last political strike. No wish to upset anyone!  But the time has come to fight, and Labour and the Conservatives have their backs to the sea. Are you capable of change? Thank you, and peace for all of us. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 20 April 2018)

The reaction was the usual:

There are no excuses left for the former Smiths frontman’s repugnant political views… Morrissey’s opinions on race and immigration have been troubling fans since at least the early Nineties… his opinions are clear enough. He is sympathetic towards Farage, Waters, Brexit and celebrities accused of sexual assault. He dislikes immigration, multiculturalism, the EU, political correctness and “the loony left”. He has a particular obsession with Islam… Yet it is still startling how proudly Morrissey advertises that intolerance. (Dorian Lynskey, the New Statesman, 27 April 2018)

So he didn’t believe it.

I have been following a new party called For Britain which is led by Anne Marie Waters. It is the first time in my life that I will vote for a political party. Finally I have hope. I find the Tory-Labour-Tory-Labour constant switching to be pointless. For Britain has received no media support and have even been dismissed with the usual childish ‘racist’ accusation. I don’t think the word ‘racist’ has any meaning any more, other than to say “you don’t agree with me, so you’re a racist.” People can be utterly, utterly stupid. Anne Marie Waters seeks open discussion about all aspects of modern Britain, whereas other parties will not allow diverse opinion. She is like a humane version of Thatcher … if such a concept could be. She is absolute leadership, she doesn’t read from a script, she believes in British heritage, freedom of speech, and she wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law. I find this compelling, now, because it’s very obvious that Labour or the Tories do not believe in free speech… I mean, look at the shocking treatment of Tommy Robinson… I know the media don’t want Anne Marie Waters and they try to smear her, but they are wrong and they should give her a chance, and they should stop accusing people who want open debate as being ‘racist’. As I said previously, the left has become right-wing and the right-wing has become left – a complete switch, and this is a very unhappy modern Britain. (Morrissey, Tremr, 5 June 2018)

In May 2019, he wore a For Britain badge twice, once at a New York gig, once on US television.

The press outrage was global.

And that was it. He dropped Anne Marie and For Britain. And everything he has ever said about them is in this post.

In early old age could I please express very sincere thanks to BBC Radio 2 for their broad-shouldered support given to “California Son”, “Wedding Bell Blues” and “It’s Over”. Whatever the future brings, I will always remember Radio 2’s steady support during these rocky weeks – especially from Jo Whiley. I am sorry the UK print media’s contorted interpretation of who and what I am has gone all wrong. In these days when most people are afraid to even whisper, the print media write as if someone is coming to get them. This aching nervousness brings on the vengeful and paranoid. Inventing Britain’s doomsday is the preoccupation of the tabloids, and they can hate you for having lived. I straighten up, and my position is one of hope. The march backwards is over, and life has begun again. With voice extended to breaking point, I call for the prosperity of free speech; the eradication of totalitarian control; I call for diversity of opinion; I call for the total abolition of the abattoir; I call for peace, above all; I call for civil society; I call for a so-far unknowable end to brutalities; “No” to Soviet Britain; prayers not to gods but to forces; an end to disingenuous media cluelessness; the people have the power; hatred and beheadings belong in the furnace of history; music might still be your only friend; for every shade and persuasion … we shall always be alongside each other – everyone’s culture of value; no more fashionable outrage; cows are friends to humans – don’t kill them; beware of those who write in headlines; moral fiber means holding on … to your friends; give up on inferior arguments; God gave you your life to enjoy – you will cry for your life in years to come … death always answers back; do not be a nobody; you have survived this far in order to make the remainder peaceful and funny; your very survival proves that you have a right; ignore the cold eyes of fascism; your life is Art. (Morrissey, 24 May 2019)

I am not an activist, I have never voted for a political party, I do not belong to any political party… I do not believe that the most important thing about a person is the colour of their skin. (Morrissey, Kipper Central, June 2019)

It didn’t end the drama.

The media continue to write about him, linking him to the far right, giving the far right mainstream publicity.

In June 2019, his then manager, tweeted about the badge on Morrissey’s Twitter account.

In October 2019, his then manager, posted a response to an LA Times hit piece, written by For Britain’s Pakistani heritage, ex-Muslim, deputy chair, Khadija Adam, on Morrissey’s Facebook page.

For Britain believes in 1) British sovereignty outside the EU, 2) tightly limited immigration and 3) stopping Britain becoming an Islamic state, which on current demographic trends must happen in the middle third of this century… Islamism is a supremacist ideology that seeks to supplant the West. Anyone who supports Western liberal values such as free speech, gender equality and non-violent punishments for offenders should be anti-Islamist. The largest poll in the UK of it’s type revealed over half of UK muslims believe homosexuality should be a criminal offence. Do you therefore not understand why this may be an issue to the leader of a party who is gay herself?

On Morrissey Central, in June 2019, his nephew belatedly posted an interview from April 2019 that mentioned Anne Marie.

I think Anne Marie Waters is the only British party leader who can unite the left and right. I don’t know any other party leader who even WANTS to do this. The UK is a dangerously hateful place now, and I think we need someone to put a stop to the lunacy and to speak for everyone. I see Anne Marie Waters as this person. She is extremely intelligent, ferociously dedicated to this country, she is very engaging, and also very funny at times… My political stance is simple: I oppose barbarism … from the left from the right, or from the centre… a fascist would never have recorded “Wedding Bell Blues”, but, you see, the press choose their targets, and ignore what it suits them to ignore. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, April 2019)

And, again on Morrissey Central, 27 July 2020, his nephew, posted Anne Marie’s vlog from a Live Export protest.

With legacy and social media ablaze, Anne Marie became one of the most important far right leaders, which she immediately ruined by becoming a white nationalist. Of sorts.

In August 2019 she appeared at a conference held by Generation Identity UK, a now defunct neo-Nazi group – under the bizarre impression that the room was full of moderates who would stop neo-Nazis using mass immigration to neo-Nazi. She had come to the conclusion that Europeans are biologically secular, non-Europeans are biologically religious, Europeans are white, non-Europeans are not white, therefore the way to stop Europe being taken over by Islam is to have the UN declare that white people are the indigenous people of Europe and that mass immigration is colonialism.

She was probably groomed into this absurd belief online.

In 2012 Anne Marie was due to give a speech at Queen Mary University of London, but it had to be cancelled after an Islamist protester threatened to kill everyone in attendance. https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2012/01/islamist-stops-university-debate-with-threats-of-violence

She was upset that her own side – the left – were mostly denouncing her as a bigot.

Groups like the English Defence League and Stop Islamisation of Europe are using real concern about Sharia law in order to promote their racist and anti-immigrant agenda. Like the Islamists, they blame everyone who they consider Muslim for the crimes of Islamism. Pro-Islamist Left groups like Stop the War Coalition, United Against Fascism and Respect Party are no better. They excuse and justify Islamism at the expenses of the lives, rights and freedoms of innumerable people. (Maryam Namazie, One Law For All: Enemies Not Allies Seminar, 29 January 2011)

Around this time she became Twitter friends with Tommy Robinson – who offered to help One Law For All get greater traction. Tommy was part of the counter-jihad – a weird mix of vulnerable minorities (gay people, Jewish people, ex-muslims, vegans…) using the far right to hold back Islamism (which is like napalming your face to cure acne), and the far right using vulnerable minorities to mainstream white supremacy (while struggling to conceal their contempt). Confusingly the far right were also cosying up to Russia, Iran and the hard left to oppose ‘organised Jewry’/the Israeli Lobby/Corporate America/Bankers/Capitalists/Zionists/Jews – so you could scroll Twitter and find a Neo-Nazi account sharing a list of Jewish people who work in the media with a Marxist.

As you all know, Co-Spokesperson Anne Marie Waters resigned in November 2013. What you don’t know is that her resignation followed more recent political disagreements on some key issues, including One Law for All’s refusal to collaborate with the members of racist and far-Right groups and our insistence on the need to distinguish between Muslims/immigrants and Islamists. (Maryam Namazie, One Law For All press release, 7 May 2014)

In 2013 she made a disastrous appearance at the Oxford Union arguing against the motion: this house believes Islam is a religion of peace. Ignoring that freedom OF religion is as important as freedom FROM religion she argued that ‘it is the moderate Muslims who must “dance around meanings” and “stretch interpretations” when confronted with the fundamentally violent ideology of the Qur’an’. (Oxford Union, YouTube, July 3 2013)

In November 2013 she left One Law For All and the Labour Party.

I joined the Labour Party because I believed that all people should have equal rights, and should never be disadvantaged as a result of characteristics that they cannot change. I believed that people should have the same rights and protections irrespective of their gender or skin colour. I believed in fairness and in justice. I believed in civil liberties and a government run by the people for the people… I still believe in those things, which is why I cannot, in any good conscience, remain a member of the Labour Party. (Anne Marie Waters, Dispatch International, October 2013) http://www.islamophobiawatch.co.uk/anne-marie-waters-and-dispatch-international-one-more-time/

She set up Sharia Watch UK, a right-wing version of One Law. It was launched in the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Cox.

… journalists from The Times and the Daily Telegraph were present at the launch event for Sharia Watch UK. Adopting the counter-jihad movement’s favoured pose of being undemocratically ignored by an establishment cowed by ‘political correctness’. (Hilary Aked, Spinwatch, January 21 2015) 
https://irr.org.uk/article/sharia-watch-uk-and-the-metamorphosis-of-anne-marie-waters/

She wrote for counter-jihad journals like Dispatch International, failed to set up a branch of Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) in the UK with Tommy Robinson, then joined UKIP, hoping to make opposition to Islam their main issue. https://www.radicalisationresearch.org/guides/pegida-uk/

UKIP’s anti-Islam leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters can be revealed as a strike-supporting socialist and trade unionist who played an active role in the Labour Party for a decade and described her political views as “standard left-wing”. Waters is the supposedly hard-right, Tommy Robinson-endorsed candidate in the UKIP leadership race. UKIP figures are concerned she is a Walter Mitty character, self-publicist and entryist who has taken a less than credible political journey. (Team Order Order, Guido Fawkes, July 4 2017)

Marxist Lesbian activist Anne Marie Waters, attempts to hijack UKIP for her Zionist backers (Jack Sen, Nick Griffin, Resistance Radio, 16 July 2017)

Over the past few years Ann-Marie Waters, an Irish LGBT activist, backed by Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media, Tommy Robinson and a cabal of Jewish nationalists with irrefutable ties to American Neoconservative organisations, has advanced upon the British political scene… On every last issue — abortion, non-Islamic immigration, gay rights, mandated teaching of homosexuality in schools, etc. — Ms Waters is a dogmatic Bolshevik to the core. (Jack Sen, Occidental Observer, 25 August 2017)

from Occidental Observer

After a couple of months, I began to tutor Waters on media and presentation. Although she was a natural, I encountered a point during this intense period of training, where she seemed to exhibit an unnerving bias and hostility against men … Her delivery, in my personal opinion, was aggressive and spiteful. She was a bitter woman and not a patriot for England. (Winston McKenzie, a former UKIP organiser, quoted by Jack Sen, Occidental Observer, 12 September 2017)

When she lost the UKIP leadership election she set up For Britain. It became a magnet for far right activists, esp from the BNP, hoping to slip into power behind a civic nationalist facade.

Many Whites are, sadly, progressives. We won’t win our war for racial survival without bringing some of them around to White separatism. If that means appealing to feminists by pointing out Muslim misogyny, or environmentalists via facts about immigration and overpopulation, so be it. Whatever works. (Lord Shang, Counter-Currents comment section, 16 May 2019)

Pragmatic neo-Nazis were impressed that she would talk about The Great Replacement – the conspiracy theory that white people are being replaced in their ancestral homelands, which includes the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and South Africa, by non-white people – but didn’t see her going anywhere.

Though we might disagree with much of Ms Waters’ ideology and sometimes doubt her political choices, no one can doubt that she is a genuine, committed, and often courageous campaigner… at one time it seemed that civic nationalism with an anti-Islamist, pro-Zionist edge was the way forward, at least for those prepared to swallow their ideological objections in the interest of electoral ‘strategy’. That argument no longer holds water.  (Admin978, Heritage and Destiny, 23 July 2021)

Purist neo-Nazis didn’t see why they had to put up with a lesbian if she wasn’t going to lure in unsuspecting voters with ‘legitimate concerns’. And moved in on Morrissey’s name, trying to claim his art as their own, a thing made vastly easier by left & centre commentators referring to A FAR RIGHT PARTY, or Britain First (an openly racist, anti-Irish-Catholic, party) in order to damn Morrissey as much possible.

Fascists like me get to keeping liking Morrissey while liberals have to burn all his records. Ha ha! Suckers!!! (Travis LeBlanc, Counter-Currents, 13 May 2019)

On 17 June 2019 Anne Marie made a YouTube video complaining that people on “our side of the political divide” were using Morrissey for attention while failing to name-check For Britain.

Patriotic Alternative’s Laura Towler declared herself a fan on nationalist podcast The Absolute State of Britain (2 November 2019)

‘Village Smiths’, apparently a Patriotic Alternative activist, tried to launch a culture zine dedicated to the coming ‘Britnat music scene’ on Morrissey Solo (it didn’t come) –

Conformity in the UK: The Unbearable Wokeness of the UK Punk Scene – While not a ‘punk’ in the traditional sense, Morrissey is a rare example of a musician not holding back in attacking the sacred cows of the liberal establishment… His increasingly nationalist views have divided fans of The Smiths and made him the target of a witch hunt in the mainstream media and music press in recent years. (Lewis, Vile Media, 20 April 2020)

On the 10th April 2020 Anne Marie made a YouTube video accusing Mark Collett, of neo-Nazi group, Patriotic Alternative, of being a racist, a misogynist and a homophobe – concluding with “If you want a manifesto that is solely about throwing black people out of the country then by all means do go and join Patriotic Alternative.”

There was a backlash from her milieu.

The problem is, you just spent five minutes in a hysterical, emotional outburst… You have not addressed the foundation of concerns for For Britain people who are moving to PA (Ralph Masilamani, YouTube, 10 April 2020)

I have often wondered how an Irish Lesbian felt she had what it takes to lead an in the main English Nationalist party? I supported For Britain from the sidelines, feeling that it was better than nothing… will it be ‘For Britain ’, pro Israel, Pro gay lead by someone who strikes me will take the money and toe the Jewish line. Or will they vote for P.A. A party lead by pair of decent English Patriots who arent gay, arent pro Israel and are uncompromising when it comes to policies which harm our people? I pray to the good lord that it is the latter… because ’we are here, we are not queer get used to it’. (Patriot, Patriotic Alternative blog comment, 10 April 2020)

In a livestream on the 13th of April 2020 she had to deny that she had any connection to Israel.

It wasn’t enough.

Weird Dyke Anne Marie Waters Launches Hysterical Attack on Patriotic AlternativeA dyke will never get on board with right-wing ethnonationalism because dykes are useless and sterile… Waters is a filthy dyke Jew puppet who we should laugh at and scold like a misbehaving child until she stops her destructive behaviour of worshipping white-hating Jews (Anon, Martinez Perspective, 22 April 2020)

Patriotic Alternative meme

On 14 May 2020 she uploaded a video titled ‘Our Demographic Destiny’ in which (somewhat hilariously given her strong Dublin accent) she stressed that as Prime Minister she would permanently remove anyone not sufficiently British.

On 30 September 2020 in a YouTube video – panicked by actor Laurence Fox’s billionaire-backed hard right Reclaim Party – she implied she had no celebrity support and For Britain was ‘for the people, by the people’.

In April 2021 a Simpsons episode branded Morrissey an anti-immigrant fat gay meat-eating racist. Anne Marie jumped to his defence on social media, highlighting animals in the hashtags, while asserting in a video that he supported her immigration policy, something he’s never mentioned.

Morrissey blanked her, but it didn’t stop his detractors from spreading her message.

And so it seems it will go on, world without end.

CODA: On the 1st of July 2022, Anne Marie Waters, posted a video on YouTube complaining that York Council had put a target on her back by calling her a racist. She seemed to absolutely believe that it was reasonable to think that all African and Muslim male migrants were uncivilised, and uncivilisable, rapists who would rape thousands of British women and girls, which the state would cover up, and the only way to prevent the rapes was make sure no migrants were allowed into Europe. The only concession she made is that ‘not all’ were rapists but we ‘don’t know which ones’ – echoing gender critical talking points and making Europe sound like a ladies toilet.

On the 13th of July 2022, Anne Marie Waters announced that For Britain would cease to be a political party. Money and support had collapsed. She blamed this on the cost of living crisis and intimidation from anti-fascists. And asked for money to continue the monomancial work of branding all migrants rapists.

I intent to return to my roots and seek to educate our country about the incompatible cultures that grow in strength and presence every day.  To this end, I will revisit Sharia Watch.  I will continue to make videos, write articles, and I will update my grooming gang report from 2015.  I will examine what has happened since that time. Perhaps most importantly; last year on a livestream I mentioned my intention to start a support service for victims of rape and sexual assault.  This will be my primary work – but only with your support. The service I will create (and I have been making steps on this for some months) will provide support groups, person-to-person counseling, and a unique service for rape survivors who wish to report their attack to the police. I will personally accompany rape victims to police stations and record every move made by police, and hold them to account for it. I will document all of this, and more, and make sure the British public, and our politicians, are fully informed. This means I can go right to the source and offer real and important help to people who will be harmed by the huge influx of migrants and the lack of justice for victims of sex offences. I will call upon my experience in law, and indeed in victim support, to take this work forward.  I will keep everyone informed of my work in this area via articles and videos. I can only do this with your support.  If you can spare just one or two pounds per month, I can spend as much time as possible on this project. If you can support me with this, please do let me know. (Anne Marie Waters, For Britain website, 13 July 2022)

For Britain’s thunder had been stolen by actor Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party, which was able to put far right talking points into ‘culture war’ memes, while doing the rounds of hard/alt right media. He also created the Bad Law Project, which has worked with Tommy Robinson’s Hearts of Oak group, as well as many of the mainstream gender critical feminists. https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/fox-hits-back-with-bad-law-project/5112541.article

Morrissey said nothing – but still…

13 July 2022

Side Note One: Anne Marie maintains – and probably believes – that For Britain is a Centre right, anti-racist party. And it does have a diverse – albeit emotionally unstable – membership.

Shazia Hobbs, who has a Scottish mother and a Pakistani father, went from For Britain to Patriotic Alternative after being convinced that Jews secretly run the world: It was difficult trying to fit into either race and never being able to, always struggling with the identity of being mixed. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/anti-racism-novelist-probed-police-23974857

Side Note Two: the left struggles to coherently oppose Islamic extremism, while the right often finds it agrees with it – leaving many victims of extremism with nowhere to turn.

He must have been startled too by the venomous contempt directed at him in England, both from the nativist Right and the multicultural Left. One of Margaret Thatcher’s closest colleagues, Norman Tebbit, damned Rushdie as a man whose “public life has been a record of despicable acts of betrayal of his upbringing, religion, adopted home and nationality.” A fine historian, Lord Dacre (Hugh Trevor-Roper), joined in, I’m sorry to say, mused whimsically about the possibility that some Muslims who deplored Rushdie’s manners might “waylay him in a dark street and seek to improve them.” And John Le Carré said – in a comically inapt phrase – that “Nobody has a God-given right to insult a great religion.” There was much more in that vein from self-appointed friends of Islam. What some of these effusions illustrated all too vividly was the intellectual and moral tangle that “multi-culti” had got itself into. For one thing, in the case of “The Satanic Verses” and others since, sauce for the Muslim goose was plainly not sauce for the Christian gander. The very same people as those who affected such horror at Rushdie’s blasphemy against Islam derided anybody who claimed to be upset by blasphemy against Christianity. In the case in London some years earlier when Gay News published a lurid (if not very good) poem about a supposedly homosexual Jesus, chattering-class opinion unanimously supported the magazine. As to those who asserted that criticism of Islam was akin to racism, they were if anything the real racists, albeit unconscious. They not only willfully confused race with religion, they patronizingly applied different standards to dark-skinned Muslims, from whom, it seemed, nothing better than mindless violence could be expected. Most poignant of all was Rushdie himself. Behind the spiteful Tory sneers was the memory that, for years before the fatwa, and not content with his literary success, he had tried to parlay his Third Worldliness into a career. (Geoffrey Wheatcroft, the New York Times, November 3 2009) https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/news/13iht-edwheatcroft.1.20172827.html

The useful label ‘the pseudo-left’ has been knocking around the internet political blogs since 11 September, and it is high time it was brought into the mainstream media. It’s a shorthand description of the spectacle of left moving to the right, often to the far-right, and embracing obscurantists, theocrats and, in the case of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and its Baathist ‘insurgents’, classic fascists. (Nick Cohen, the Observer, 20 February 2005)

Lesbian and gay activists have called on The East London Mosque and its adjoining London Muslim Centre to prohibit homophobic speakers on its premises. The move has re-ignited controversy over the issue in Tower Hamlets with allegations being made by different groups of both anti-gay Muslim extremism and Islamaphobia. The latest furore follows an open letter posted online by 12 LBGT campaigners, including writers Julie Bindel and Paul Burston, which lists a series of events hosted by the East London Mosque allegedly attended by  anti-gay Muslim clerics. These included Abdullah Hakim Quick, a supporter of the death penalty on gays and Abdul Hattin who incorporated a ‘Spot the Fag’ contest into his sermon in 2007. The letter follows the recent conviction of 18-year old Mohammad Hasnath who plastered ‘gay-hate’ stickers across East London, calling for the death penalty on homosexuals; Westminster Magistrates fined him just £100 for public disorder. Last month, four men were convicted of a brutal attack on a religious studies teacher, because they disapproved of his teaching. At the weekend, the  Sunday Telegraph reported what it claimed to be number of  previously unreported cases of  hate crime which it claimed suggested  police were allowing  Muslims  to ‘Islamicise’ an area of London. Reporter Andrew Gilligan cited several examples of Muslims and non-Muslims being threatened or ‘brow-beaten’ because they have been deemed to breach fundamentalist Islamic norms. (Christina Adamidou, East London Lines, June 14 2011) https://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2011/06/gay-activists-challenge-east-london-mosque-over-extremism/

Like so many liberals, I have started to self-censor to avoid the wrath of my politically purist friends… Because I find myself holding a “transgressive” body of beliefs and doubts alongside my blue-chip leftwing ones that are liable to get me branded a misogynist, an Islamophobe and a Little Englander – at least by people on my Twitter feed, and others of my peer group. (Tim Lott, the Guardian, March 11 2015) https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/11/mainstream-left-silencing-sympathetic-voices

It is said that while it is hard to stand up to your enemies, it is even harder to stand up to your friends. I spent many years at the heart of left wing politics and discovered, to my cost, what can happen when you begin to take a different view, when you do your research and realise that the accepted consensus isn’t necessarily correct; speaking out on this can result in rejection, expulsion from the club. There is no area where this so robustly applies among the hard left than that of the state of Israel. Support of or sympathy for Israel can make you an immediate enemy to many. Israel is the untouchable issue; the consensus from which you cannot veer. The fact that Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which gay people enjoy anything resembling freedom or human rights is apparently a fraud — because the anti-Israel left demands that it be so… In the Gaza Strip, ruled with an iron fist by Hamas, not only are women subject to appalling treatment, but homosexuality can result in death. In 2011 Hamas cofounder, Mahmoud Zahar, said, “You in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?” Attacks are frequent in the Gaza Strip and gays live in fear; so much so that LGBT Palestinians commonly flee to Israel. (Anne Marie Waters, her blog, July 2015)

In November, MEND’s chief executive, Sufyan Gulam Ismail, announced to a Manchester mosque: “We don’t want the government to fob us off with some phony thing called Tell MAMA, which has got a pro-Zionist pretty much heading it, or in a very senior capacity, and is making all sorts of comments we might not agree with when it comes to homosexuality, to be recording Islamophobia.” (Nick Cohen, the Observer, 4 October 2015)

He Does The Devil’s Work

He dabbles in black magic:

I try a bit of black magic, put curses on people, I make effigies. Its a very common practice – everyone does it. Really. There’s certain people who cross my path in a very vindictive way. I make them from an old washing up liquid tub and a bit of wool. I don’t stick pins through them, I’ve got another method…..I rub them violently.(Morrissey, 1988 Smash Hits yearbook)

Suddenly Morrissey was off, galloping into a monologue which became increasingly weird as it went on. He said he’d ‘never come face to face with human evil’ until he encountered the judge, John Weeks. He uses the name John Weeks like an incantation or a curse. (Lynn Barber, the Guardian, September 2002)

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2002/sep/15/artsfeatures.popandrock

Irish cursing is best understood as an art, because it required knowledge, practice, wit, skill and composure. Intimidating, cathartic and virtuoso: cursing mingled gruesome yet poetic phrases with ostentatious rites, in the name of supernatural justice. It had many applications but was particularly valuable to Ireland’s marginalized people, fighting over food, religion, politics, land and family loyaltieshttps://academic.oup.com/past/article/247/1/113/5721469

His work foreshadowed the death of Princess Diana: https://dianamystery.com/

He was born under a bad sign: http://la-fontaine-de-mots.over-blog.com/2014/11/the-misfortune-of-being-born-under-a-saturn-opposition-morrissey.html

He is satanic: Hell’s Bells: The Dangers of Rock and Roll, 1989: “Smiths: combine Satanic imagery “with an intelligence and poetic passion rarely found” in heavy metal” https://pitchfork.com/features/article/6216-for-whom-hells-bells-toll/

Racist T-shirts

Morrissey’s merchandise is created by Sandbag Limited, a global merchandising company.

https://www.sandbagheadquarters.com/

Morrissey isn’t involved in the design.

But that didn’t stop the press yet again attacking him for racism – and yet again bringing up the fact that he, a “poofy bastard”, touched a Union Jack – after an image of James Baldwin was paired with a Smiths lyric ‘I wear black on the outside cause black is how I feel on the inside‘.

The Manchester-born singer has found himself at the centre of a number of rows since the early 90s, after an incident when he wrapped himself in the Union Jack at a concert in Finsbury Park. (Danuta Keen, the Guardian, March 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/20/bigmouth-strikes-again-row-morrissey-james-baldwin-t-shirt-the-smiths

https://folk-devil.com/2021/09/05/sexually-ambiguous/

Baldwin would probably have understood the pairing though since both of them struggled with the gap between their self-perception and the way society perceived them esp in relation to their sexuality, ethnicity, and desire to be writers. And both have been denounced as inflammatory and excluded by supposed progressives – Baldwin was sidelined by the Civil Rights movement because he was gay, Morrissey has been excluded from his own work.

In America, the color of my skin stood between myself and me; in Europe, that barrier was down. Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch. It turned out that the question of who I was was not solved because I had removed myself from the social forces which menaced me – anyway, these forces had become interior, and I had dragged them across the ocean with me… (James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son, 1961)

https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/02/24/james-baldwin-the-last-interviews/

A fan, Angie Cooke, defended the t-shirt: “Many thanks to the very kind and generous Priyank Patel for sending me this frankly fantastic tee, which I love and adore! Just to make a point here now, James Baldwin wasn’t merely the hue of his skin and neither am I! We’re not a colour, we’re PEOPLE! Heed the message y’all!”

And on Twitter, two music journalists, decided the font and layout of a t-shirt was a homage to neo-Nazi band Skrewdriver.

Skrewdriver’s roadie, Nicky Crane, came out as gay a month before the Finsbury Park gig where Morrissey was attacked by far right homophobes and the NME accused him of inciting it because he was attracted to skinheads.

Nicky Crane had left the National Front because it was violently homophobic and Skrewdriver disowned him.

The far right were also violently opposed to Irish Catholics and Irish Republicans. Morrissey is an Irish Catholic and an Irish Republican.

It seems to me that most of the people that want to destroy the Royal family are either Irish or commies. (Ian Stuart Donaldson, lead singer of Skrewdriver)

Smash The IRA – Skrewdriver:

On the streets of Ulster, the battle rages on
British people fighting for their land
Fought in two world wars for us, fought and died for Britain
Gotta help them, support the Red Hand

Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs

Gotta change our policies and hang the IRA
Let the Army deal with them their way
Corrupt politicians and sniveling left-wing scum
Are quite content to let them get away
Come on Ulster!

Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs


Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs

IRA supporters are marching on our streets
Are we gonna let them spread their lies?
Are we gonna let them march or are we gonna smash them?
Laughing while the British people die
Come on Ulster!

Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Smash! Smash! The IRA!
Remember the victims of their bombs

Tommy Robinson

In a June 2018 interview with Fiona Dodwell – mostly about animals and music – Morrissey said (of Anne Marie Waters):

she wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law. I find this compelling, now, because it’s very obvious that Labour or the Tories do not believe in free speech… I mean, look at the shocking treatment of Tommy Robinson… 

https://www.tremr.com/Fiona-Dodwell/this-is-morrissey-an-interview

This is his only mention of Robinson and it relates to freedom of speech and the law – Robinson had recently been jailed for larping as a journalist and live streaming outside a child abuse trial that had a court order banning reporting.

https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/29/edl-founder-tommy-robinson-jailed-13-months

Sometime in the 2010s Morrissey’s obsession with animals had reached the point where his main ambition was the total abolition of the abattoir.

“The slaughterhouse is the dead end for humanity, and as long as it exists we can’t possibly have any hope for the human race… If you’ve seen abattoir footage then you cannot possibly think that humans are anything other than evil pests… If your views threaten any form of establishment interests, you are usually ignored or silenced or said to be ‘ranting’. I have never ranted in my life.” (HuffPost, June 2015)

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/morrissey-animals_n_7588034?ri18n=true

In August 2016 he gave an interview to an Australian news site – it was his usual mordant mix of politics, music, and animals. All meat-eaters get equal wistful ire – David Cameron, The Royals, Iceland… He’s asked about standing for London mayor, he doesn’t fancy his chances.

I could see the pointlessness of stepping in. The BBC now do not give you news, but they give you their opinion, and therefore they give anyone a very hard time if that person does not suit the convenience and prejudices of the established elite. Therefore liberal educators such as George Galloway and Nigel Farage are loathed by the BBC because both men respect equal freedom for all people, and they are not remotely intimidated by the BBC. The Mayor was eventually elected on very few votes, and of course he eats Halal butchered beings, and talks so quickly that people can’t understand him … and that suits the British media perfectly.

https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/tours/exclusive-morrissey-on-donald-trump-miley-cyrus-prince-harry-and-unreleased-smiths-material/news-story/2932f6891ea2abe238baef5a4edeee2e?from=public_rss

In The Guardian, Hadley Freeman, took this section and decided it made him a libertarian racist (Nigel Farage is a capitalist, George Galloway is a socialist, both wanted out of the neoliberal European Union) – weirdly she seems to have missed that he spent most of the 90s being called a racist for holding a Union Jack.

It’s the emphatic inclusion of “halal” that adds a spicy hint of racism to Morrissey’s animal rights campaigning, doesn’t it?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/lostinshowbiz/2016/aug/04/oh-god-morrissey-talks-about-galloway-farage-and-sadiq-khan

But Sadiq Khan had praised chicken shops at an awards ceremony, calling halal chicken a beautiful thing.

Chicken Cottage is a British product that is doing a fantastic amount in our country…over the last period Chicken Cottage has created 1,000 new jobs in our country, added £50m to the UK’s GDD and over the next five years will be creating 400 new jobs as well… And here’s the beautiful thing. This is a British product…selling Islamic products, selling halal products…that is niche and general but it’s gone mainstream… When Chicken Cottage started in 1994, the aim was to be as excellent, or as good as, the market leaders…now, the aim is to be the best in its own right, and now the market leaders are Chicken Cottage… long may you have a prosperous future! (Sadiq Khan, Chicken Cottage Award Ceremony, 2012)

http://littleatoms.com/sadiq-khans-confusion-over-chicken-shops

And had talked about halal meat in a 2014 radio programme.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01y3vfx

It’s the meat eating that Morrissey is objecting to.

After the Guardian calls him racist he becomes preoccupied with the idea that religion and tradition can veto animal welfare. And anyone who objects is called a racist.

Animals rights (sic) must come before religion. Religion must cease to be the ONLY word. I am not interested in what people did ten thousand years ago. I am concerned about what is happening today. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, April 2018)

I can’t see how opposing Halal slaughter makes me racist when I’ve objected to ALL forms of animal slaughter all of my life. (Morrissey Central, April 2019)

Hence his interest in Anne Marie Waters, a former left-wing activist, who had been recruited by far right grifter Tommy Robinson, who seems to have convinced her that the left would never put women’s rights (her particular angle) before Sharia Law, as administered by Sharia Courts, the first known one in Britain being established in 1982 in order to “solve the matrimonial problems of Muslims living in the United Kingdom in the light of Islamic family law”, for example marriages, divorce and inheritance issues”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/religious-marriages-register-muslim-women-uk-abuse-a9663441.html

In August 2017, Anne Marie had gained a huge amount of publicity by entering the UKIP leadership election and by complaining that she’d been smeared as a racist to scupper her feminism.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/irish-lesbian-hides-her-roots-in-bid-to-be-ukip-leader-hqtlmtrgj

Ms Waters, 39, who has twice tried to stand for election as a Labour candidate, is focusing much of her campaign on Muslim grooming gangs who have been convicted of sexually abusing girls in several English cities.

Anne Marie is the director of Sharia Watch UK, a watchdog which says its “particularly concerned with the elements of sharia law which are discriminatory and violent towards women and girls, and which endanger and threaten the democratic principle of freedom of speech.

https://web.archive.org/web/20180526005218/http://www.annemariewaters.org:80/response-from-defamation-solicitors/

Recently, I sought help to fund a consultation with defamation solicitors to discuss the legal position regarding newspapers referring to people as “far-right”, “fascist” or “racist” simply because we speak negatively about Islam.  Those of us who do so are frequently subject to smears from the press, which portrays us as bigots and liars. 

At a book launch in June 2014, she said, Islam was an ideology that was being appeased by the state and ‘it is exactly the same appeasement that is allowing young girls to be raped in Britain, it’s got nothing to do with race, it’s got to do with the fact that we will not confront the misogyny at the very, very heart of this religion’.

There’s no evidence that Islam had anything to do with the grooming gang scandal, but it’s true that for 20 years the police and social workers turned a blind eye to groups of Muslim men sexually exploiting white girls, that some of the men were bigoted, and that a few people who raised concerns were labeled racists.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-40886658

Anne Marie seems genuinely tormented by the idea that religion gives men a licence to abuse, while Tommy cheerfully latches on to anything that causes racial strife – from ‘reporting’ Asian grooming gangs to ‘supporting’ Muslim parents protesting against LGBT+ teaching materials in primary schools.

And the left really is intensely bad at dealing with anything to do with race that isn’t white supremacy.

‘There’s a persistent taboo on the Left which demands that every incident of terror be attributed to American foreign policy… But Islamists aren’t killing cartoonists because the U.S. invaded Iraq. And ISIS isn’t exterminating the Yazidis because of America’s sordid relationship with Saudi Arabia.’

https://www.salon.com/2015/11/17/the_left_has_an_islam_problem_if_liberals_wont_come_to_terms_with_religious_extremism_the_xenophobic_right_will_carry_the_day/

Ex-fan Stewart Lee, in his Guardian column, decided that mentioning Tommy Robinson meant – there’s no longer any way to make the case that Morrissey ever meant anything other than what he says – that he was telling a Bengali that he didn’t belong in the UK in Bengali In Platforms, and that he was saying England should be for the English in National Front Disco. Which had nothing to do with what Morrissey was actually trying to say and everything to do with the homophobic Finsbury Park myth.

Morrissey dropped Anne Marie Waters in May 2019, and has never mentioned Robinson before or since. Though the media still relentlessly links him to both.

https://folk-devil.com/2021/09/05/sexually-ambiguous/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/08/how-to-treat-morrissey-stop-listening-to-him-stewart-lee?CMP=share_btn_tw

Side Note: In April 2018, via Morrissey Central, Morrissey recommended Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe, a conservative (at best) book that gathers so many true incidences of rights clashes between Islamic and liberal values that you could miss the conspiracy theory that underpins it – that Cultural Marxists hate the West so much they’re allowing Saudi Arabia to stealth colonise it.

This isn’t one of Morrissey’s scandals because Douglas is an old Etonian, published in mainstream newspapers and magazines and by Bloomsbury, who appears on mainstream television and has enough connections to dent a journalist’s career, unlike Morrissey, who has none.

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-strange-death-of-europe-9781472942241/

 

California Son

Pingate (wearing the badge of UK fringe party For Britain) happened as Moz was releasing California Son – a selection of left-wing protest songs from his childhood – plus genderqueer covers of Jobriath, Melanie & 5th Dimension.

He had always loved these artists. And had always believed that anyone with a message that disturbed the establishment would be excluded.

(From his autobiography, published in Penguin Modern Classics, 2013)

In 1971, I had watched helplessly as Buffy Sainte-Marie made her debut on Top of the Pops singing her own composition, Soldier Blue; a mannish white working shirt, and what were surely blue jeans, dogged determination in her brownish face, and the truth of it all in her eyes. “Oh, soldier blue, soldier blue, can’t you see that there’s another way to love her?” The ‘her’ is the land, and ‘the other way’ is minus bombs and military artillery. Or so I assumed. Serious artists rarely make the stages of Top of the Pops because the show is essentially light entertainment, yet this song of great depth has risen to number 7, and, light or not, the BBC are duty bound as a public service to air any song elected by the public. In the market-driven mush of British pop, there no continual place for Buffy Sainte-Marie with her carrion calls of loss and injustice. But there she is, and her am I, and the secret of song unravels. I discover Moratorium on the flipside of Soldier Blue, and this song has a fighting vocal over a lengthy stream of words that include the line “Fuck the war – bring our brothers home”, and I weigh my new love against the Willesden weediness of Greyhound, whose singer’s voice is ready to crack and fold at any second.

But by the time the album had been released he’d become keen on a gay Irish feminist vegan called Anne Marie Waters, who set up a party called For Britain, and who was claiming that she was being falsely accused of racism by the ‘loony left’ because she was speaking about the impact of religion (she’d previously been in the National Secular Society and the Labour Party) on women’s rights, gay rights, and animal welfare.

This chimed with his experience of being smeared as a racist at Finsbury Park in 1992 because the NME thought he had a gay fetish for racist skinheads and had incited a homophobic attack against himself to satisfy it, his experience of that scandal being used to condemn him as a ‘rogue Tory’ and a racist for very mild remarks about immigration changing London as it gentrified in 2007, which in no way called for immigration to be limited, stopped or reversed, and with his experience of being called a racist for mentioning halal slaughter when he rails against all animal slaughter all the time.

He didn’t think she was far right. And he didn’t think he was supporting a far right party. He thought Theresa May was antagonising Islamic State with draconian policies and that Anne Marie would stop the terrorism by bringing people together and would help animals, children and women by making sure there could be no religious veto applied to animal welfare laws, gay rights or women’s rights (something she was pushing heavily on social media).

https://www.morrisseycentral.com/messagesfrommorrissey/i-ve-been-dreaming-of-a-time-when-the-english-are-sick-to-death-of-labour-and-tories

I despise racism.  I despise fascism.  I would do anything for my Muslim friends, and I know they would do anything for me. In view of this, there is only one British political party that can safeguard our security.  That party is For Britain. Please give them a chance. Listen to them. Do not be influenced by the tyrannies of the MSM who will tell you that For Britain are racist or fascist – please believe me, they are the very opposite!!! Please do not close your mind. Labour is hopelessly naive. Theresa May’s policies have turned Britain into a international target. The BBC has closed down. The Loony Left is concerned only with victim culture. For Britain will keep British society together. Violence is not the way forward. There are many problems in modern Britain that have become too large for Theresa May to deal with – mostly because she created them in the first place. The press appear to deal only in fashionable outrage; inflammatory and unjust comments against any new party that threatens the same old bloody pointless two-party system. Please give For Britain a chance. They will bring an end to the modern Westminster mania for self-destruction. For Britain is the bulldog breed that will never surrender. Both Labour and Conservatives have already sold you down the river into righteous oblivion. This is my last political strike. No wish to upset anyone!  But the time has come to fight, and Labour and the Conservatives have their backs to the sea. Are you capable of change? Thank you, and peace for all of us (Morrissey, Central, 20 April 2018)

In a kind of hideous vicious circle – decades of press smears that he was a far right racist had led him to believe that Anne Marie Waters wasn’t a far right racist, and his support for For Britain was taken as the final ‘proof’ that he was a far right racist all along.

The album was crushed.

The Guardian (24th May, 2019) could only hear slimey trolling – in what is, a very sweet & sincere album (there is no decade of contentious proclamations, there’s three decades of a few journalists sifting through his interviews & on-stage patter to find half a sentence to condemn him for, usually connected to his belief in animal rights or dislike of Monarchy or confusion about morality growing up in a world where he was a born sinner for not being straight).

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/may/24/morrissey-california-son-review-clumsy-covers-troll-like-spirit

Merseyrail removed the poster. Indie record stores banned his records. DJs stopped playing him. The press tried to harass his collaborators into denouncing him. And the moral panic got into full swing.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseyrail-orders-removal-morrissey-posters-16321633

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/morrissey-smiths-record-shop-banned-16313914

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/01/morrissey-collaborators-respond-to-his-politics