Billy Bragg: long statement re: Morrissey on Facebook (7 July, 2019)


"Last Sunday, while much of the British media were lauding Stormzy’s Glastonbury headline show as epoch defining, Morrissey posted a white supremacist video on his website, accompanied by the comment ‘Nothing But Blue Skies for Stormzy...The Gallows for Morrissey’. The nine minute clip lifted footage from the grime star’s Pyramid Stage performance while arguing that the British establishment are using him to promote multiculturalism at the expense of white culture.

The YouTube channel of the video’s author contains other clips expressing , among other things, homophobia, racism and misogyny - left wing women of colour are a favourite target for his ire. There are also clips expounding the Great Replacement Theory, a far right conspiracy trope which holds that there is a plot of obliterate the white populations of Europe and North America through mass immigration and cultural warfare.

My first thought was to wonder what kind of websites Morrissey must be trawling in order to be able to find and repost this clip on the same day that it appeared online? I came home from Glastonbury expecting to see some angry responses to his endorsement of white supremacism. Instead, the NME published an interview with Brandon Flowers in which the Killers lead singer proclaimed that Morrissey was still “a king”, despite being in what Flowers recognised was “hot water” over his bigoted comments.

As the week progressed, I kept waiting for some reaction to the white supremacist video, yet none was forthcoming. Every time I googled Morrissey, up would pop another article from a music website echoing the NME’s original headline: ‘The Killers Brandon Flowers on Morrissey: ‘He’s Still A King’. I’m well aware from personal experience how easy it is for an artist to find something you’ve said in the context of a longer discourse turned into an inflammatory headline that doesn’t reflect your genuine views on the subject at hand, but I have to wonder if Flowers really understands the ramifications of Morrissey’s expressions of support for the far right For Britain Party?

As the writer of the powerful Killers song ‘Land of the Free’, does he know that For Britain wants to build the kind of barriers to immigration that Flowers condemns in that lyric?
Party leader Anne Marie Walters maintains ties with Generation Identity, the group who both inspired and received funds from the gunman who murdered 50 worshippers at a Christchurch mosque. How does that sit with the condemnation of mass murder by lone gunman in ‘Land of the Free’?

As an explicitly anti-Muslim party, For Britain opposes the religious slaughter of animals without the use of a stun gun, a policy that has given Morrissey a fig leaf of respectability, allowing him to claim he supports them on animal welfare grounds. Yet if that is his primary concern, why does he not support the UK’s Animal Welfare Party, which stood candidates in the recent European elections?

Among their policies, the AWF also aim to prohibit non-stun slaughter. If his only interest was to end this practice, he could have achieved this without the taint of Islamophobia by endorsing them. They are a tiny party, but Morrissey’s vocal support would have given the animal rights movement a huge boost of publicity ahead of the polls.

Instead, he expresses support for anti-Muslim provocateurs, posts white supremacist videos and, when challenged, clutches his pearls and cries “Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me”. His recent claim that “as a so-called entertainer, I have no rights” is a ridiculous position made all the more troubling by the fact that it is a common trope among right-wing reactionaries.

The notion that certain individuals are not allowed to say certain things is spurious, not least because it is most often invoked after they’ve made their offensive comments. Look closely at their claims and you’ll find that what they are actually complaining about is the fact that they have been challenged.

The concept of freedom pushed by the new generation of free speech warriors maintains that the individual has the right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, to whoever they want, with no comeback. If that is the definition of freedom, then one need look no further than Donald Trump’s Twitter feed as our generation’s beacon of liberty. Perhaps Lady Liberty should be replaced in New York Harbour with a colossal sculpture of the Donald, wearing a toga, holding a gaslight.

Worryingly, Morrissey’s reaction to being challenged over his support of For Britain, his willingness to double down rather than apologise for any offence caused, suggests a commitment to a bigotry that tarnishes his persona as the champion of the outsider. Where once he offered solace to the victims of a cruel and unjust world, he now seems to have joined the bullies waiting outside the school gates.

As an activist, I’m appalled by this transformation, but as a Smiths fan, I’m heartbroken.

It was Johnny Marr’s amazing guitar that drew me to the band, but I grasped that Morrissey was an exceptional lyricist when I heard ‘Reel Around the Fountain’. Ironically, it was a line that he had stolen that won my affections. “I dreamt about you last night and I fell out of bed twice” is spoken by Jimmy, the black sailor, to his white teenage lover, Jo, in Sheila Delaney’s play ‘A Taste of Honey’.

The 1961 movie, starring Rita Tushingham was an early example of a post-war British society that would embrace multi-racial relationships (and homosexuality too). By pilfering that particular line for the song, Morrissey was placing the Smiths in the great tradition of northern working class culture that may have been in the gutter, but was looking at the stars. Yet, by posting a white supremacist video in which he is quoted as saying “Everyone prefers their own race”, Morrissey undermines that line, erasing Jo and Jimmy and all those misfit lovers to whom the Smiths once gave so much encouragement.

A week has passed since the video appeared on Morrissey’s website and nothing has been written in the media to challenge his position. Today it was reported that research by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a UK based anti-extremist organisation, reveals that the Great Replacement Theory is being promoted so effectively by the far right that it is entering mainstream political discourse.

That Morrissey is helping to spread this idea - which inspired the Christchurch mosque murderer - is beyond doubt. Those who claim that this has no relevance to his stature as an artist should ask themselves if, by demanding that we separate the singer from the song, they too are helping to propagate this racist creed."


Regards,
FWD.

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Anonymous

Guest
Morgoth's Review's YouTube channel explains more about his issues with the Billy Bragg of today not as he was back in the 1980s. Morgoth is a white working-class male factory worker from the North East in England:

 
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Anonymous

Guest
it's a shame to see that Steve has been coopted by the filth of the youtube right.
 

Stephen Hofmann

Well-Known Member
Oh come on, cut the holier than thou crap. There is a massive debate going on in the Western World about immigration and how much or how little people should be critical of it and the promotion of multiculturalism etc. Moz has jumped right in to this debate. Do you expect Moz-Solo to be immune from this and stay out of this debate? Of course some people may bring their own prejudices and hang-ups to the debate. That's human nature. But it doesn't make the debate not worth having. The future of Europe may be at stake - nothing trivial. Most of the hatred on this website is directed at Moz. Ironic though that might be on a Morrissey fansite...

Gold star for you Sir.

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wastelandofyourhead

Active Member

Reasonable video. I don’t support hate or initiating violence. But I find it disingenuous and distasteful when the baizuo use race and often so-called minorities as their cudgel.

Whenever a POC or LGBT disagrees with the controlled narrative, they can turn on them, even violently. This is often the case here in the states with the apocalyptic group of communist cowards known as Antifa. They recently beat the shit out of a gay journalist for simply being there. And for being known as a wrong thinker.

Baizuo will immediately reject this and call the journalist a grifter or whatever justification they have for condoning the violence on the left. Meanwhile, the same people will show you a picture or story of someone bashed, and without context, blame the alt right. It is often the case where violence towards LGBT may have occurred from a 7th century religion of peace, but the perpetrators will be listed in the media as simply “teens” or “YOB”.

Protecting people is right. And in order to have a meaningful dialogue, the football match of who’s side can gain further advantage should be set aside. If nothing else, people should be free to discuss and engage without the concern of censorship, deplatforming, losing employment, or being physically assaulted.

I’m rather centrist and in a different era, I was far more protective of the initiatives coming from the left. But more recently, that same group trended more authoritarian and abusive of positions of power.

Kudos to Morrissey for always being his flawed self. I think in his own way, he still believes he’s speaking out against oppression and classism.
 

ForgotHowIGotMyName

Well-Known Member
Oh come on, cut the holier than thou crap. There is a massive debate going on in the Western World about immigration and how much or how little people should be critical of it and the promotion of multiculturalism etc. Moz has jumped right in to this debate. Do you expect Moz-Solo to be immune from this and stay out of this debate? Of course some people may bring their own prejudices and hang-ups to the debate. That's human nature. But it doesn't make the debate not worth having. The future of Europe may be at stake - nothing trivial. Most of the hatred on this website is directed at Moz. Ironic though that might be on a Morrissey fansite...

Well said. It is the great question of our time and you really have to pick a side. The time to change course is running out.
 

gashonthenail

Well-Known Member
Great Replacement Theory = Great Deflection

This is the strategy of the left - never engage in the actual issue (mass immigration) but instead accuse everyone who raises the issue of being racist / white supremacist. They are terrified of debating the issue (mass immigration) because they know that their position is basically untenable and deeply unpopular. Deflect, deflect, deflect. Accuse. accuse, accuse. This is the strategy. Hope that everyone stays quiet and keeps their mouth shut because no wants to be accused of being racist.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Never heard of him before until Moz posted the Stormzy comment. But I like the guy. Sounds like a working class Geordie with an opinion and his own mind, and a liking for The Silmarillion...
Morgoth is a white, working-class, male from the North East in England. I don't know if he is from Newcastle upon Tyne itself but he is from somewhere around there. He is a humble factory worker and doesn't earn that much money. I don't know if he is married or has any children.

Like you I had never heard of him before until Morrissey or someone working for Morrissey posted that video on his website. I don't agree with everything that Morgoth says but his love and support for Morrissey is great. I get the feeling that he might be of the same generation as Morrissey. Billy Bragg is from a white working-class background and is of the same generation as Morrissey and had his first success in the 1980s but he seems so different to Morrissey and Morgoth these days.
 

Stephen Hofmann

Well-Known Member
Morgoth is a white, working-class, male from the North East in England. I don't know if he is from Newcastle upon Tyne itself but he is from somewhere around there. He is a humble factory worker and doesn't earn that much money. I don't know if he is married or has any children.

Like you I had never heard of him before until Morrissey or someone working for Morrissey posted that video on his website. I don't agree with everything that Morgoth says but his love and support for Morrissey is great. I get the feeling that he might be of the same generation as Morrissey. Billy Bragg is from a white working-class background and is of the same generation as Morrissey and had his first success in the 1980s but he seems so different to Morrissey and Morgoth these days.

He's stuck in the 80's, like Morgoth says. I had a debate with Joolz the poet, ex-gf of the singer from New Model Army earlier on FB. She's come out with some pretty outlandish stuff about Moz and supporting Bragg but you can't debate her......she's a raving feminst with set hardcore leftist views.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
I hesitate to write this here. But I’ve spoken to Billy Bragg tonight, and about Morrissey.

I made my (pro ‘Mozzer’) position clear, and he was incredibly and surprisingly generous, in both listening and articulating his (strong) opposition.

Endearingly, he said he would welcome me coming to his gigs in a Morrissey T-shirt.

I got no sense of hate. And there was a smidgen of respect for Morrissey.

This was a man who knew life in terms of its difference, and in the importance of making a stance (to make a difference). I got no sense that he wanted to close Morrissey down by any means except open debate.

I discussed the idea of separating the art from the artist—and about how I find this impossible. And unnecessary. He really listened, and understood my point. I said that I found it problematic that he thought these were the only terms upon which a consensus—with an outspoken/disagreeable artist—might be achieved. He listened more.

He also flogged me a T-shirt. And I was delighted to own it.

God bless him. Never loved him more than I do tonight.

P.S. he spoke to lots of people, and was generous to everyone. Not just me.
 
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Stephen Hofmann

Well-Known Member
I hesitate to write this here. But I’ve spoken to Billy Bragg tonight, and about a Morrissey.

I made my (pro ‘Mozzer’) position clear, and he was incredibly and surprisingly generous, in both listening and articulating his (strong) opposition.

Endearingly, he said he would welcome me coming to his gigs in a Morrissey T-shirt.

I got no sense of hate. And there was a smidgen of respect for Morrissey.

This was a man who knew life in terms of its difference, and in the importance of making a stance (to make a difference). I got no sense that he wanted to close Morrissey down by any means except open debate.

I discussed the idea of separating the art from the artist—and about how I find this impossible. And unnecessary. He really listened, and understood my point. I said that I found it problematic that he thought these were the only terms upon which a consensus—with an outspoken artist—could be achieved. He listened more.

He also flogged me a T-shirt. And I was delighted to own it.

God bless him. Never loved him more than I do tonight.

P.S. he spoke to lots of people, and was generous to everyone. Not just me.

To give him some dues, I've voiced disagreement to loads of stuff he's said over the yrs on his FB page and recently on Twitter with the Moz thing but out of all the acts from the 80's.....he's one of the more reasonable in terms of not getting abusive and letting you have your say and not instantly going for the block button. Unlike someone like Mike Scott from the Waterboys or Ian McNabb from the Icicle Works (when he had a go at Moz over something and I pointed out he was still selling out arenas, while McNabb was playing small venues - instant block). Having said that, and as fine a songwriter as he has been, whose songs have meant a lot to me at various parts of my life, I'll never agree with him over this or much else politically.
 

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