Irish Republican

In the Melody Maker, November 1984, Morrissey said:

The sorrow of the Brighton Bomb is that she (the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher) escaped unscathed. The sorrow is that she’s still alive. But I feel relatively happy about it. I think that for once the IRA were accurate in selecting their targets… They want us to believe that such attacks can only work in the government’s favour but I believe that’s utter nonsense. Immediately after the event Maggie was on television attacking the use of bombs – the very person who absolutely believes in the power of bombs. She’s the one who insists that they’re the only method of communication in world politics. All the grand dame gestures about about these awful terrorist bombs is absolute theatre.

He’s mostly annoyed that Thatcher was on television denouncing her own methods and the implication is that the IRA usually pick their targets badly, but the first sentence (usually the only one quoted) was enough to have him denounced as a terrorist sympathiser. The Smiths received death threats from Loyalist paramilitaries, the Irish Government insisted they play a scheduled Irish tour, and the IRA, not fussed about the ‘for once’, took it as a compliment.

https://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/the-smiths-were-ordered-to-play-the-north-by-irish-govt-26719453.html

https://lostinbelfast.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/13-barbarism-begins-at-home/

In May 2011 he was in trouble with conservatives in Ireland and the UK for saying the Queen should give the six counties back.

https://www.hotpress.com/opinion/the-existence-of-the-queen-is-against-any-notion-of-democracy-7901992

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/morrissey-tells-queen-to-hand-over-six-counties-1.573354

https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/921

Even the UK left-wing press was sniffy – choosing to highlight his comparison of a constitutional Monarch with a dictator.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/may/18/morrissey-compares-queen-muammar-gaddafi

In April 2013 he got flack for mocking Thatcher’s death and for using a crass picture of the Queen.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/morrissey-belfast-singer-under-fire-after-show-mocked-margaret-thatcher-and-the-queen-31094269.html

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/apr/10/morrissey-statement-margaret-thatcher

In a statement on True To You, 9th April 2013, he said:

The difficulty with giving a comment on Margaret Thatcher’s death to the British tabloids is that, no matter how calmly and measuredly you speak, the comment must be reported as an “outburst” or an “explosive attack” if your view is not pro-establishment. If you reference “the Malvinas”, it will be switched to “the Falklands”, and your “Thatcher” will be softened to a “Maggie.” This is generally how things are structured in a non-democratic society. Thatcher’s name must be protected not because of all the wrong that she had done, but because the people around her allowed her to do it, and therefore any criticism of Thatcher throws a dangerously absurd light on the entire machinery of British politics. Thatcher was not a strong or formidable leader. She simply did not give a shit about people, and this coarseness has been neatly transformed into bravery by the British press who are attempting to re-write history in order to protect patriotism. As a result, any opposing view is stifled or ridiculed, whereas we must all endure the obligatory praise for Thatcher from David Cameron without any suggestion from the BBC that his praise just might be an outburst of pro-Thatcher extremism from someone whose praise might possibly protect his own current interests. The fact that Thatcher ignited the British public into street-riots, violent demonstrations and a social disorder previously unseen in British history is completely ignored by David Cameron in 2013. In truth, of course, no British politician has ever been more despised by the British people than Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday will be heavily policed for fear that the British tax-payer will want to finally express their view of Thatcher. They are certain to be tear-gassed out of sight by the police. United Kingdom? Syria? China? What’s the difference?

No one in the press has so far tried to explain why they believe he was an IRA supporter and a National Front supporter at the same time.

On a side note – The Guardian had to apologise for employing an IRA supporter who used his platform to smear a rape survivor.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56292056

And on an even sider side note – in a weird quirk of fate – Scottish comedian Limmy, who called his Uncles ‘Orange Bastards’ and whose brother was jailed for anti-Irish sectarian racism, could drag Morrissey for British Nationalism.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/tv-comic-limmys-brother-jailed-3006790

Jingoism

On the 4th of March 2012 Morrissey played a concert in Argentina in which his band wore ‘I hate William and Kate’ t-shirts and he said this about British colony, the Falkland Islands, then a source of renewed tension between Argentina and the UK (the nations had been to war over it in 1982):

You know of course the Malvinas Islands, everybody knows they belong to Argentina so please do not blame the British people, we know the islands belong to you… The government, the governments, never listen to the people, to their pain.

He got a wave of flack in the British press.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/morrissey-ive-tried-to-defend-you-but-a-we-hate-william-and-kate-t-shirt-has-pushed-us-to-the-brink-2nlfh382z99

To be a national treasure you have to be likable. Is Morrissey likable any more? I’m almost loth to say that he isn’t, because to do so would be to play into the persecution complex he has been nurturing for the best part of his solo career. Even when he makes pronouncements that, broadly speaking, I agree with, there’s something about the way he makes them that makes me recoil. I’m not a royalist, but pictures of his band lined up either side of him on his recent Argentinian tour, wearing “We hate William and Kate” T-shirts, momentarily made me feel like becoming one. (Pete Paphides, music writer, The Guardian, March 2012)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/10/debate-morrissey-national-treasure

Later that year he was appalled by the jingoism of the London Olympics, the winning bid being tendered by Boris Johnson, then London mayor, now (2021) the UK’s Prime Minister.

“I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event. Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism? The ‘dazzling royals’ have, quite naturally, hi-jacked the Olympics for their own empirical needs, and no oppositional voice is allowed in the free press. It is lethal to witness. As London is suddenly promoted as a super-wealth brand, the England outside London shivers beneath cutbacks, tight circumstances and economic disasters. Meanwhile the British media present 24-hour coverage of the ‘dazzling royals’, laughing as they lavishly spend, as if such coverage is certain to make British society feel fully whole. In 2012, the British public is evidently assumed to be undersized pygmies, scarcely able to formulate thought. As I recently drove through Greece I noticed repeated graffiti seemingly everywhere on every available wall. In large blue letters it said WAKE UP WAKE UP. It could almost have been written with the British public in mind, because although the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain, the 2013 grotesque inevitability of Lord and Lady Beckham (with Sir Jamie Horrible close at heel) is, believe me, a fate worse than life. WAKE UP WAKE UP.” (Morrissey, August 2012, TrueToYou.Net).

Again it led to a wave of flack in the British press.

The Guardian wrote:

Far from providing a focus of national unity and good cheer, Morrissey, says the Olympics have created a situation in which “the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain”.

As ever, he was also misquoted and paraphrased, this time to make him sound like a killjoy racist for NOT flag-waving.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/aug/06/morrissey-olympic-games

Then in 2021 after Harry and Meghan gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey where they accused the UK press and the Royal Family of racism and after the Black Lives Matter protests had led to calls for a reckoning with the UK’s colonial past, some of the same people who took potshots at him in 2012 changed their tune – about royals and patriotism, not Morrissey, who they now believe is an unspeakable British Nationalist.

Here Piers Morgan is referring to his Olympic remarks:

But…

And..

A former colleague who did shifts on the newsdesk there in the 1990s recalls that there was a blacklist of people about whom the paper would not run stories, no matter how good the tale. Top of this list were foreigners and “lowlifes” – who included “anyone with a non-English name, Irish and the entire working class, unless a yuppie plumber”. There were no page leads about black people because page leads had to have an accompanying photograph and “photographers couldn’t take pictures of black people because you couldn’t see their features”.

Meanwhile, over at The Sun (and the News of the World) there was a dread of “poofs” and “queers”, from the “gay plague” and “despicable” gay kiss in “EastBenders” of the 1980s to the “gay mafia” running the country in the late 1990s – when it demanded that all homosexual MPs be outed, explaining: “Their sexuality is not the problem. The worry is their membership of a closed world of men with a mutual self-interest.” (Liz Gerard, March 2021, Press Gazette)

https://theconversation.com/the-royal-family-cant-keep-ignoring-its-colonialist-past-and-racist-present-156749

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jan/29/the-reckoning-the-toppling-of-monuments-to-slavery-in-the-uk

https://www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-record-sexist-homophobic-and-racist-comments-bumboys-piccaninnies-2019-6

In contrast Prince Philip’s ‘off-colour‘ remarks have been consistently framed as ‘gaffes‘.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39806145