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)

Sanctimonious Animal Liberationist

Morrissey has always linked his depression to seeing footage of animals slaughtered & admits vegetarianism/veganism can be hard.

I became vegetarian first when I was very young when I caught sight of a programme on the television showing slaughter and I’d never seen it before, the abattoir, the slaughterhouse. I was frozen for five years. I couldn’t believe that in our society such places exist. Even now I can’t believe such places exist. It baffles me, I can’t understand it. Nobody’s that hungry that you need to take a life of something that also wants to live. It’s a gradual thing. Everybody begins as vegetarian because to dive straight forward into being a complete purist is very hard for most people. Financially you can’t do it and also you have to find food, but once you do it it’s so much better. [Takes off Stella McCartney shoe] There’s no animals involved in this shoe but from a distance you’d think it was an animal shoe. It’s not made of leather, it’s plastic. Would I really lie about this? Is this the place to lie about shoes? (Morrissey, Larry King Now, 19 August 2015)

Despite that, he’s always been attacked for it.

30 March 1985: Following the Morrissey interview (Trial By Jury) featured in the Melody Maker on 16 March, there was a strong reaction against the singer in the letters column. “Will MM give us a break from Mr Righteous God Almighty Morrissey?”… “Morrissey you ain’t seen anything if the Lunatic Animal Libbers kill any of my kids”… “MM could solve most of Morrissey’s problems by arranging a confrontation with a full-grown lion, a Bengal tiger, an alligator, or some other carnivores to see if his platitudes can influence their diet!” (Johnny Rogan, the Smiths, Omnibus Press, 1994)

And the press even managed to use it in their quest to brand him a gay predator/racist.

The holier-than-thou aspect of Morrissey’s public profile has naturally tempted journalists to try and bring him down… Some have unsuccessfully tried to brand him a racist… The other line has been to probe for a story on the man’s sexuality, taking their cue from the camp artwork on Smiths record sleeves… (Stuart Bailie, Record Mirror, 14 February 1987)

With his last album called Years of Refusal, Morrissey is nothing if not defiant, and I suspect that his unattractive response to being challenged over race in the past is to grow ever-more certain of his own righteousness and then court fresh controversy in order to confirm to himself that he is being persecuted. What the world thinks – and the feelings of others – are nothing compared to the importance of being Morrissey. (Tom Clark, the Guardian, September 2010) https://www.theguardian.com/global/2010/sep/03/morrissey-race-taboos-tom-clark

His outsiderdom is a function of his misanthropy. And his vegetarianism is the expedient by which he justifies that misanthropy. (Peter Paphides, the Guardian, 10 March 2012)

British rocker Morrissey forced Madison Square Garden to ban meat and fish when he gave a concert there last year. “There is no difference between eating animals and pedophilia,” he’s said, and once actually likened the use of animals for food to the Holocaust. His self-righteousness inflames Yvette d’Entremont, an LA-based analytical chemist who debunks many nutritional myths — especially those which claim just about every food to be dangerous… (Steve Cuzzo, New York Post, 18 May 2016)

Yet even that song’s (brilliant) sad-bastard rallying cry—“I am human and I need to be loved / just like everybody else does”—sounds like an understatement in comparison to “Meat Is Murder”’s sanctimonious refrain: “It’s death for no reason / and death for no reason is murder.” (Erik Adams, AV Club, 28 January 2015)

While it’s one thing for an artist to insist on vegetarian catering for themselves, it does seem rather extreme to demand that those working at and attending the show must also adhere to their food preferences... But it’s Morrissey and it seems that promoters are prepared to put up with such food fascism.  (Jim Carroll, the Irish Times, 17 June 2011) https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/morrissey-poses-his-omnivore-fans-a-dilemma-1.599210

He’s undeterred.

…they assume you’ve adopted the moral high ground by refusing to eat a dead animal. And they’re right. But you only take the stand on behalf of the butchered animal, you don’t make money from your point of view. You become the voice of the animal… who kicked and struggled to hang on to life, but who was chopped up because some fat oaf in Woking fancied some commercial-break nibbles (Morrissey, Tremr, 5 June 2018)

Plays the Victim: Monster, Troll, Autistic, Nutter

From the beginning of Morrissey’s career he talked about his mental health issues and his problems with social interaction.

It is difficult to describe how really insular I was… I was entirely on my own… I found life unbearable at times… the fear and anguish… I seemed to be more depressed than anyone else. (Morrissey, Blitz, April 1988)

Before he was famous he was excluded and othered, after he was famous it continued.

One of the lads said, “you ought to hear the voice!” It was a very girlish, effeminate voice and his mannerisms were very effeminate – Noel Devaney on Morrissey’s first school day. (Johnny Rogan, the Smiths, Omnibus Press, 1994)

“Morrissey,” remembers Paul Morley, “was always laughed at in Manchester when we were kids. He was the village idiot. That’s the ironic thing – now he’s the poet of a generation. But in those days he was ‘that-one-in-the-corner, Steve the Nutter’.” (Jessica Berens, Spin, September, 1986)

[to Morrissey] I remember who and what you used to be. You were like the village idiot, the odd one out, the backward boy. (Paul Morley Blitz, April 1988)

When he was violently attacked by homophobes at Finsbury Park in 1992, the music press blamed him for it, labelling him a racist by twisting his words out of context, guilt by association, and falsely claiming that touching the Union Jack was fascist. It then became acceptable to gaslight him, monster him & be ableist.

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

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 do feel as though I have been somewhat victimised,” he told Mojo a few years ago. But what has he been “victimised” for? The 1992 show where he sang “The National Front Disco” draped in a union flag seems to have been a turning point. At the time, I was one of the few people in the music press who felt that Morrissey should have been given the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was trying to make some arcane point about the nature of Britishness to a park full of Madness fans. In retrospect, though, it seems pretty clear that he was defying people to misunderstand him… (Peter Paphides, The Guardian, March, 2012)

The King of the Trolls title is hard to win. Between professional Russian tweeters and amateur armies of online haters doing battle with everything from CNN to Starbucks, there is no shortage of competition. But even in this crowded field, Morrissey shines like a true champion. (Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald, 7 December 2017) 

Ultimately, you can’t help feeling that not only did Morrissey need Johnny Marr to achieve greatness, but the guitarist was also a restraining and civilising influence on his songwriting partner. (Mark Phillips, Medium, November 2019)

Morrissey isn’t senile, he’s always been a racist. (Mangal Media/Freedom Magazine, August 2019).

We interviewed Bid from The Monochrome Set whose view was that the creative part of Morrissey’s brain operated separately from the part that was prone to “spouting rubbish”. One of Svenja’s friends has been diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger Syndrome, a disorder characterised by difficulties with social interaction and repetitive behaviour. Her friend is adamant that they recognise aspects of their condition in his behaviour… Morrissey may well be socially awkward, like many creative people. But he’s not stupid. He has walked a thin line courting controversy and the uglier aspects of human sentiment. He knows exactly what he’s done and he’s made a very good living from it. His problem is that he has lost a lot of income and audience, and I’m sure he won’t enjoy being categorised under “racist cunt”. (Phil Ross, Louder Than War, March 19, 2020)

I feel that as a black man liking music made mainly by white people it means I will have to wince every now and then at lyrics… not to mention whatever Morrissey says… ever. (Gabriel Ebulue, the Quietus, 13 November 2019)

Then there’s their Irishness and the punk moment. Shane was immensely inspired by John Lydon. The Irish thing cannot be overlooked, as they were crucial to English pop music. John Lennon, Billy Fury, if we can still mention his name, Morrissey. There’s a great deal of Irish presence in English music. What’s different about MacGowan is that he made a real point of being Irish. (Julian Temple, Flood Magazine, December 2020)

Side Note: everyone else in rock gets forgiven.

Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Joy Division, Lemmy, Banshees… bit of Nazi trouble. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2007/apr/16/news.joydivision

Eric Clapton had a bizarre racist period. https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/eric-clapton-opens-up-even-on-his-bizarre-racist-period-1.3327327

Elvis Costello was drunk… After 2AM he described James Brown as a “jive-arsed n——” and Ray Charles as a “blind, ignorant n——.” https://ultimateclassicrock.com/elvis-costello-racist-remarks/

The Cure’s killing an Arab is literature. https://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/music/censor-87.php

John Lydon racially assaulting a black singer, supporting Trump, Farage & Brexit, & hating left-wingers, is complex. https://theoutline.com/post/1315/johnny-rotten-would-hate-john-lydon

Worn Nazi imagery? Stabbed your girlfriend? Fragile and damaged. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2009/jan/18/sid-vicious-death-icon

It was right-wing to object to Marilyn Manson… ‘I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.’ (Spin, 2009) … nobody even batted an eyelash at these overt admissions of violence.… (Glamour, March 2018) https://www.glamour.com/story/why-is-nobody-talking-about-marilyn-mansons-fantasy-of-killing-evan-rachel-wood

Mark E Smith was ‘far too complex or intelligent to be a mere ogre‘. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jan/24/mark-e-smith-the-fall

“From the opening, combative ‘The Classical’ the album seethes with rancour (the opening line “Where are the obligatory n—–s? Hey there, fuck face!” although not racist in the context of the song, is unpleasant to say the least and, unsurprisingly, cost them a record deal with Motown)”... the first thing that I failed to do when writing about ‘The Classical’ was to put the song in a solid contemporary context. Smith was far from the only musician dropping the n-word in this period and this usage exists right at the periphery of a much more well established continuum. (John Doran, the Quietus, 13 November 2019) https://thequietus.com/articles/27427-hex-enduction-hour-the-classical-the-fall-racist

… I’m fit and working again
And I feel like Alan Minter
I just ate eight sheets of blotting paper
And I chucked out the Alka Seltzer… (Fit and Working Again, The Fall, 1987)

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.

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 Said He Prefers His Own Race!

In April 2019 Morrissey was interviewed by his nephew, Sam Esty Rayner, who runs Morrissey Central.

The interview was posted on June 24th 2019.

In April Morrissey was still loyal to gay Irish vegan, Anne Marie Waters, who had set up For Britain. An oddity in UK politics she had started on the left as a secular feminist and moved to the right to oppose legal religious exemptions.

Sam asked Morrissey why he supported her and followed up with:

sam:
The obvious press assessment is that she is racist, but I haven’t heard her say anything racist.

Morrissey replied:

M:
Neither have I. But if you call someone racist in modern Britain you are telling them that you have run out of words. You are shutting the debate down and running off. The word is meaningless now. Everyone ultimately prefers their own race … does this make everyone racist? The people who reduce every conversation down to a matter of race could be said to be the most traditionally ‘racist’ because everything in life is NOT exclusively a question of race, so why make it so? Diversity can’t possibly be a strength if everyone has ideas that will never correspond. If borders are such terrible things then why did they ever exist in the first place? Borders bring order. 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. 

Later Morrissey said:

The Independent reported how people are walking out of my concerts … which was a lie. It’s all very KKK, isn’t it? … share our views or we’ll smash your face in… My political stance is simple: I oppose barbarism … from the left from the right, or from the centre.

What Morrissey was saying is that each group might prefer their own ways but to get on with each other there are some things we have to agree on. These debates are being shut down by accusations of racism. And the people who shut down the debates are racist because they make everything about race.

He then mentions two things he’s been labelled a racist for – border chaos and halal slaughter.

https://www.morrisseycentral.com/messagesfrommorrissey/234417-the-interview

The Guardian had published similar arguments.

This certainly indicates a difficult problem, whereby people are more troubled by the idea of being accused of racism than they are of being racist. It’s the absolute definition of racism to allow your responses to people to be governed wholly by their ethnicity… Closely linked to this story is that of “multiculturalism”, whereby all sorts of unsavoury activities have been allowed to flourish unchallenged in immigrant communities, because we all had to respect each other’s differences. My own perception was that the dangers of multiculturalism had been fully acknowledged back when it became plain that radical Islam was finding enthusiastic adherents in Britain, which we know it still is. I’m minded to imagine that these men considered themselves to be fighting their own little jihads; their war not to establish a caliphate but influenced by their idea that decadent westerners, even children, were getting what was coming to them. Multiculturalism’s most miserable miscalculation was that respect would always be mutual. (Deborah Orr, the Guardian, August 2014)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/29/reaction-to-rotherham-typical-british-blame-game

In fact, though, everyone – of whatever colour – is racist. As part of a TV documentary I’ve been working on, I’ve seen how our brains have a tendency to automatically associate our own race with good and other races with bad, whoever we are. (Mona Chalabi, the Guardian, Mon 5 Oct 2015)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/05/racist-racism-racially-white-ethnic-minorities

And Implicit bias theory is part of Diversity training.

despite our best intentions and without our awareness, racial stereotypes and assumptions creep into our minds and affect our actions… That’s why implicit racial bias has been called “the new diversity paradigm — one that recognizes the role that bias plays in the day-to-day functioning of all human beings.” (Jenée Desmond-Harris, Vox, August 2016)

https://www.vox.com/2014/12/26/7443979/racism-implicit-racial-bias

But despite that social media and the press ripped out Prefers Own Race and there was a vast amount of comment condemning him for preferring his own race – i.e. claiming he said he prefers white people.

They also failed to notice the discrepancy in the dates.

Morrissey had already dropped For Britain and tried to explain that he wasn’t against multiculturalism following the intense backlash against wearing a badge on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.

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; (Morrissey, 24th May 2019)

He would try again shortly after Own Racegate:

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 the most important thing about a person is the colour of their skin. (Morrissey, Kipper Central, 30th June 2019)

But it made no difference. To date (April 2022) he is still referred to as far right, racist, a For Britain supporter, a Pariah, Persona Non Grata and Public Enemy Number One.

ad infinitum…

Guardian T-shirt

On the 26th of October 2019, at a gig at the Hollywood Bowl, Morrissey wore a ‘Fuck the Guardian’ t-shirt.

In 2010 the Guardian had taken up the NME’s homophobic hate campaign that started in 1992.

Having his words relentlessly hyper policed for racism after he was violently attacked for being (perceived as) gay led him to believe that Anne Marie Waters, an Irish, lesbian, vegan, feminist, wannabe politician (an unlikely background for a British nationalist), was similarly a victim:

I despise racism. I despise fascism. 
I would do anything for my Muslim friends and I know they would do anything for me… 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…  This is my last political strike. No wish to upset anyone! (Morrissey, Central, April 2018)

By May 2019 he dropped For Britain:

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 the most important thing about a person is the colour of their skin. (Morrissey, Kipper Central, June 2019)

But was (and often still is) wrongly described as the supporter of a far right party or aligned with the far right.

The t-shirt caused more frenzy in the press and social media:

With such anti-fascist things as jokes about his sexuality:

His gender identity:

And his body:

His distress at the Guardian was framed as a right-wing attack on the liberal-left:

But at times, he couldn’t help himself, at one point donning a T-shirt bearing a profanity directed at the Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper that has criticized his rhetoric in recent years. (August Brown, Los Angeles Times, October 2019)

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2019-10-27/morrissey-concert-hollywood-bowl-fans

Despite his band wearing Fuck Trump t-shirts:

And the homage to his heroine, Patti Smith:

The Evil One

The idea that Morrissey is the evil Smith comes from the NME. Frustrated at the lack of Morrissey interviews & news in the wake of the Smiths split they fabricated a homophobic story smearing him as a racist after he was violently attacked at a gig.

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. (NME, August 1992)

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

And had been trying to launch Marr as the real Smiths star via standard rock mythology – guitars! cars! got the the girl! – supposedly reversing a situation in which Marr had been cast as the devil and Morrissey the saint by highlighting Marr’s manly virtue and Morrissey’s effeminate vice.

Before we start, one more thing needs making crystal clear; Johnny Marr is a Very Happy Man. And why not? At 27 years of age (27? Shocking, isn’t it?) he has it all sorted. A career on the very brink of new pinnacles; a blessed marriage to Angie; a collection of guitars vast enough to satisfy even as voracious an axe-freak as he; a car too big for most of the streets of his native Manchester; a studio/refuge in the depths of his home. Did I say ‘happy’? This, people, is the proverbial pig in shit… Best of all though, is Johnny Marr’s healthy relationship with his past. He has refused to let it haunt or hinder him. Nor is he cramped, like some, by an undue reverence for Morrissey. Indeed he (like all the Factory Mafia) now refers to his former soulmate as ‘Dorissey’ and has re-christened the limpid lad’s last 45 (Our Frank) as ‘Alf Wank’. (Danny Kelly, NME, April 1991)

https://mycuttings.blogspot.com/2021/03/1991-04-20-johnny-marr-nme.html

But the vice-virtue polar opposites idea gains most of its momentum and malice after the NME rehashed their homophobic article in 2007, adding a smear that Morrissey is anti-immigrant while scolding him for being an immigrant.

Morrissey launched legal action, winning a case against Word magazine who had used the NME’s smears in a review in 2008, and winning against the NME in 2012.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2008/apr/04/pressandpublishing.medialaw

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-18410933

The digs at Morrissey’s sexuality have stayed consistent – even gay journalist Simon Price likes to make sure you know Morrissey is a “poof”.

It’s the lie that he’s racist and right-wing that’s crystallized, with Marr now the left-wing saviour of the Smiths, the only vaguely acceptable part of Morrissey’s perverted career.

In a 2013 review Price deliberately misleads – Morrissey has never ‘implied Bengalis don’t belong here’, did not ‘complain there were too many blacks on Top of the Pops’ and has never ‘backed UKIP’.

None of this, of course, is Johnny Marr’s fault. Furthermore, Johnny Marr has never implied that Bengalis don’t “belong here”, complained that there are too many blacks on Top of the Pops, or backed Ukip, so, as ex-Smiths go, he’s still on the side of the angels… We’ve all seen what’s become of Morrissey, deprived of Marr. (Simon Price, the Independent, March 2013)


https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/simon-price-on-pop-smiths-reborn-rocker-johnny-marr-is-on-the-side-of-the-angels-8537476.html?amp

The Irish Times ascribes it to Morrissey’s indecent mouth in general.

Slowly and far more diligently, however, Marr has come to represent the polar opposite of Morrissey – less relentless barbed and tired wit, more common decency. (Tony Clayton-Lea, the Irish Times, Novovember 2016)

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/johnny-marr-the-smiths-were-30-years-ago-move-on-1.2873833

Price was also briefing other journalists against him – which came to light when Morrissey thought gay vegan, Anne Marie Waters, who set up For Britain, was being smeared as a racist in the way he was smeared as a racist for his sexuality.

The “outright party political broadcasts for actual fascists” is this:

I despise racism. 
I despise fascism. 
I would do anything for my Muslim friends and I know they would do anything for me… 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…  This is my last political strike. No wish to upset anyone! (Morrissey, Central, April 2018)

There’s acres of examples of Morrissey’s words and motivations being hyped, twisted, conflated, the repetition of misleading selective quotes, and guilt by association.

For instance, he has never mentioned or supported burqa bans, forced deportations, benefit cuts or anything except animal rights, ending violence, and equality before the law; ‘bulldog breed…” is singled out to pretend he’s a British nationalist.

All of it culminating in Smiths fans needing Marr’s permission get past Morrissey’s taint.

Morrissey’s recent political views have cast a shadow over the Smiths for me – reaching back into the past and tainting something that was very important to me. I’m so disappointed in him. Has it impacted how you feel about the Smiths or are you able to separate the past from the present, the band from the man? I find it very difficult to do so.
Johnny Spence, Northern Ireland
It hasn’t impacted how I feel about the Smiths. That’s all I can say about that. I’m certainly able to separate the past from the present. I don’t know whether you can separate the band from the man, but I can separate myself from the man and what I did, so when I do see how disappointed people are, it really does make me sad… I don’t have any answers. And I don’t want to have any answers. I was at Glastonbury in 2019 when you played There Is a Light That Never Goes Out at the end of your set. Without wanting to sound too gushy and obsessive, men and women in their 40s and 50s were openly crying, I guess because it felt like you were giving us permission to love these songs again. What is going through your head when you perform these songs? Do you feel any sadness or regret, or do you feel that you are claiming them fresh, as yours?
Lindsay Wright, London
I’ve been asked about claiming the Smiths songs quite a lot before and I’m not doing that… I don’t think I need to claim anything, because I wrote them.
(Johnny Marr, Q & A, the Observer, February 2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/feb/06/johnny-marr-fan-questions-fever-dreams-interview

On a side note: there’s an infinite list of things heterosexual male rock stars can say/write and get a generous interpretation, while Morrissey – an Irish Catholic 2nd generation immigrant – can’t even put the word ‘belong’ in a narrative song about fitting in.

Disturbingly, Now He’s a Poof gloried
in juvenile homophobia:
“Aids and herpes, he’s got ’em /
The evidence is written all over his bottom.” It was more than outrageous enough to get them condemned in the court of liberal opinion, yet listen closely and the Macc Lads were always a subversive parody of such unreconstructed macho bigotry. (Ian Gittins, the Guardian, June 2015)

https://amp.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/jun/23/cult-heroes-the-macc-lads-satirists-not-knuckle-draggers

Now, He’s A Poof by Macc Lads

Get stuffed you arse bandit.
One of me best mates,
He come from Macc,
And we used to go out pulling crack,
Now we know it were just a farce,
’cause he’s got spunk dribbling out of his arse.
He’s got scabs from stalking other men,
We’re never going to talk to him again,
He’s gone all nesh and he’s making us sick,
We wouldn’t give him cheese off us dicks.
Now he’s a poof, we can’t handle it.
Now he’s a poof, he does spermy shits.
Now he’s a poof, he leaves white stains wherever he sits.
He’s gone to pot and he’s shaved his head,
He’s got some black bloke sleeping in his bed,
AIDS and herpes, he’s got ’em,
The evidence is written all over his bottom.
Now he’s never in the pub, now he’s no fun,
He’s got sores and scabs all over his bum.
We’ll have to pin him down on the deck
And pour some Boddies down his fucking neck.
Alright?
’cause he’s a poof, he drinks lemonade,
Now he’s a poof, and he’s full of AIDS,
Now he’s a poof, and he likes his buttocks splayed….
Now he’s a poof, he’s a fuckin’ slob,
Now he’s a poof, he’s got a shitty nob,
Now he’s a poof, he’s got spunk all over his gob….
Now he’s a poof, he’s a fucking queer,
Now he’s a poof, he’s got gonarhea
Now he’s a poof, he can’t hold his fucking beer.
Now he’s a poof, he’s an arse bandit,
Now he’s a poof, he does spermy shits,
Now he’s a poof, and he doesn’t like to feel girl’s tits.
Now he’s a poof, we can’t handle it,
Now he’s a poof, he leaves white stains wherever he sits,
He’s a poof, he’s a fucking queer arse bandit,
He’s a fucking poof, he drinks lemonade,
For Christ’s sake he’s a poof, he likes his buttocks splayed,
He’s a poof, he’s fucking going to spread AIDS all over the world,
Kill the bastard….

He Attacked Johnny Marr

On the 25th of January 2022, Morrissey Central published an Open Letter from Morrissey to Johnny Marr requesting him to stop talking about him.

https://www.morrisseycentral.com/messagesfrommorrissey/open-letter-to-johnny-marr

It’s normal celebrity feud material, but the response has Folk Devil relevance.

With no stand out word or phrase in the letter to demonise him with, it was called bitchy, moany, odious (Rock’s Page Pages email – they have no issue with the homophobia in their back pages – in fact they highlighted the NME’s homophobic 1992 article, still lying that Morrissey had flirted with racism) and untruthful – with journalists insisting that Marr has to be cajoled into talking about Morrissey (how is Morrissey supposed to know that?)

It’s not quite clear what Johnny Marr said recently to piss off Morrissey, but it resulted in an extremely bitchy “open letter” from the former Smiths singer to his one-time guitarist and songwriting partner. (Rolling Stone, January 2022)

And it was linked to the far right racist narrative by jokes about free speech…

Steven

… a clunky association with Donald Trump…

… Marr changing his Twitter profile pic to his Simpsons character – the Morrissey character being a fat, meat-eating, gay racist (weirdly proving the racism allegations and homophobia go hand in glove the Simpsons violated their diversity casting policy by hiring a straight actor to play Morrissey and including a homophobic joke in Tim Long’s script.)…

… And choosing to RT a tweet that reinforces the idea he’s the the nice left-winger in contrast to Morrissey’s evil right-winger while giving the For Britain logo yet more reach…

Plus the return of the Lucky Dip from the List of Word Crimes – The Guardian chose Hitler, Brexit, Rape Apologist, Immigration, Merseyrail, and For Britain. The Independent chose For Britain, Hitler, Own Race and Khan’s Accent. Consequence went for Con-Vid and For Britain. That’s, For Britain, a far right party that Morrissey didn’t vote for, join, or give money to, that he didn’t believe was far right (he explicitly condemned racism and fascism) & that he hasn’t mentioned since May 2019 getting mainstream press nearly 3 years later just to hate on him.

Though many people can’t even remember which party & confuse it with either the real Britain First party (openly far right and violently homophobic. For Britain’s gay vegan leader fallaciously insists she’s on the centre right, and was forced there because the left won’t listen to her concerns about women’s/gay & animal rights) or with Trump’s America First slogan.

And think they’ve had to steer clear of his fascism for decades.

Which brings us back to the mirror that cracked – The NME.

They kept it general with ‘controversial‘ Morrissey & ‘legendary‘ Marr.

Which is fitting.

At some point after the Smiths’ breakup, they decided Marr was the star. (The violent homophobia and false racism allegations of 1992 were meant to have killed Morrissey’s career stone dead.)

I must admit, pestered Marr. A relentless mixture of journo and fan, I have nagged away at him to break the silence he has so studiously maintained about The Smiths these last four years.
During those years (while Marr was doing his ‘have guitar, will travel’ routine) the true story of The Smiths has become a prisoner of Morrissey’s whimsical memory and busy tongue, and, worse, the loaded imaginings of hacks.
But now – at long bleedin’ last and maybe just to shut me up – Marr has steeled himself and agreed to do a once-and-for-all, no-holds-barred interview about the band that, more than any other, illuminated ’80s Britpop.
He has chosen his moment with care. The imminent release of Electronic’s second single (‘Get The Message’); and the album that’ll quickly follow, will place Marr at the creative crux of his second great band. It will confirm him as one of the most gifted and influential musicians of the last decade. Maybe the most.
Before we start, one more thing needs making crystal clear; Johnny Marr is a Very Happy Man. And why not? At 27 years of age (27? Shocking, isn’t it?) he has it all, sorted. A career on the very brink of new pinnacles: a blessed marriage to Angie; a collection of guitars vast enough to satisfy even as voracious an axe-freak as he; a car too big for most of the streets of his native Manchester; a studio refuge in the depths of his home. Did I say ‘happy ? This, people, is the proverbial pig in shit.
But best of all, though, is Johnny Marr’s healthy relationship with his past. He has refused to let it haunt or hinder him. Nor is he cramped, like some, by an undue reverence for Morrissey. Indeed, he (like all the Factory mafia) now refers to his former soulmate as ‘Dorissey’ and has re-christened the limpid lad’s last 45 (‘Our Frank’) as ‘Alf Wank’. (Danny Kelly, NME, April 1991)

https://mycuttings.blogspot.com/2021/03/1991-04-20-johnny-marr-nme.html

Side Note: if Morrissey mimicked a Black artist it would have been in his List of Word Crimes:

This is nervy, routine business-avoidance. We’re here to talk Smiths. Start at the start.
“I was born a poor black chile …” he grins, in one last attempt at stalling. (Danny Kelly, Johnny Marr, NME, April 1991)

Side Note 2: straight men in music truly can say what they like.

Defends Neil Young:

Politically-speaking, its hard to exorcise the ghost of his 1980s pronouncements, when he swung hard-right behind the Reagan presidency and lashed out at gays (“you go to the supermarket and you see a faggot behind the fucking cash register, you don’t want him to handle your potatoes”) and welfare spongers. “Stop being supported by the government and get out and work,” Neil advised. “You have to make the weak stand up on one leg, or half a leg, whatever they’ve got.” Set against all this, however, is some of the finest music of the last 30 years; a body of work that’s at once earthy yet haunting. Marshalling the case for the defence I would direct the jury, in particular, to listen to Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, After the Goldrush, the wonderfully sepulchral Tonight’s the Night, choice portions of Harvest, Zuma and Rust Never Sleeps, and the whole of On the Beach (recently reissued and every bit as good as I remember it) (Xan Brooks, the Guardian, September 2003)

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/sep/17/popandrock.neilyoung

Condemns Morrissey – who had expressed support for left-winger Bernie Sanders in June 2016 and left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015 and who released a political manifesto that was all about animal welfare in March 2016 when considering running for London mayor on behalf of the left-wing Animal Welfare Party. Yet the implication is he’s now right-wing for immigration comments that were wildly exaggerated in a rehash of the NME’s homophobic 1992 article, and one word in a statement that wasn’t about hating the Chinese, but about pointing out how inhumane animal cruelty footage looked.

Did he and Morrissey have similar politics? “Yeah, we did back then.” And now? “I wouldn’t expect so. Probably not.” In recent years, Morrissey has made headlines for suggesting that immigration is compromising British identity; he sued the NME (successfully) for defamation, releasing a statement that “racism has no place in our society”. In a 2010 interview with this magazine, he described the Chinese as a “subspecies” when it came to their treatment of animals. Marr prefers to talk about the days when Morrissey reserved his bile for Margaret Thatcher. (Simon Hattenstone, the Guardian, October 2016)

https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/29/johnny-marr-the-smiths-morrissey-simon-hattenstone

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/mar/07/morrissey-considers-running-for-london-mayor-animal-welfare-party-boris-johnson

https://www.nme.com/news/music/morrissey-16-1200365

https://www.nme.com/news/music/morrissey-48-1224576

Anti-Anti-Racist Protesters

On September 30th 2019 Morrissey played a gig in Portland Oregon. Two protesters held up signs, one with the logo of UK political party For Britain under a stop sign (giving them yet more publicity – Morrissey stopped supporting them in May 2019, four months previously), and one saying ‘Bigmouth Indeed’.

The press had been following Morrissey’s North American tour to report low sales (they exaggerated, it did ok) and listen out for problematic stage “outbursts” (they got nothing but a fleeting reference to Faith Goldy and a Fuck The Guardian t-shirt).

Morrissey made the protesters leave the gig and a flurry of articles condemned him for being anti anti-racism and waxed lyrical about his supposed new far right political direction (he didn’t believe the party was far right, he thought their vegan leader was being lied about) or dipped into the list of distorted quotes pioneered by the NME in their homophobic hit piece in 1992, to prove that: He Has Always Been Like This (he wasn’t, he isn’t).

In fact, he’s sensitive about hecklers, throwing out particularly distracting ones, or walking off-stage if he smells a burger.

https://www.nme.com/news/music/morrissey-244-1307847

The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I just couldn’t bear it. (Morrissey, returning to the stage at Coachella, April 17th 2009)

I didn’t want to return to Brisbane because I’ve played there twice and on both nights I was heckled, which doesn’t bother me that much, but even if I reply with something snazzy, the heckler always wins because the night has been soured and we no longer feel welcome. That’s life. (Morrissey, news.com.au, August 2016)

A further scandal occurred when his nephew posted a picture of an audience in San Diego with the text:

no ‘politically offended protestors’ (as paid for and planted in the crowd by the British press) in sight … (Sam Esty Rayner, Morrissey Central, October 2019)

It was reported as a statement by Morrissey, though he tends to have his name attached. Whether he believed it was a stunt or not is unknown.

Side Note : In my notebook I’ve jotted ‘viva love crap from Dave’. Make of that what you will.

He Makes Rents Unaffordable

In October 2013 Carole Cadwalladr wrote, in the Guardian, that Morrissey was responsible for increased rents, higher gas bills and young people being unable to become cult Indie singers, because he was an expat, because David Cameron (then Prime Minister of the UK) liked the Smiths, so the entire white, male, ruling/media class was compelled to make bad policies, and because he had ceased to be relevant in 1992.

1992 being the year the NME wrote a homophobic hit piece about Morrissey, falsely accusing him of inciting a hate crime against himself by far right skinheads because he was sexually attracted to racism, in a gay way.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/19/bigmouth-morrissey-strikes-again?CMP=soc_3156

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