Morrissey versus Freespeech

Morrissey versus Freespeech

June 2019

I'll start by stating where I stand. I am a great fan of Morrissey and have been for a number of years since the early days of The Smiths. So, maybe I am biased but hopefully I'm big enough to put my own personal slant to one side while I examine Morrissey's May/June 2019 run in with the Thought Police.

It all started with him apparently wearing a For Britain badge while performing live. Firstly - he wore a badge - wow wee and fuck me! A few years back people wouldn't have wasted their time debating such actions. But now the social-media thought police do. When did the wearing of a badge become mainstream news?

The wearing of a badge, a pink shirt or walking round bare foot is what is called freedom of expression.

I first caught a glimpse of this nonsense in the NME article Morrissey under fire for appearing to wear ‘For Britain’ badge published on the 9th May 2019:

Before long all sorts of people on social-media were mouthing off about Morrissey. Here's one example cited in the NME from an alleged journalist called Dave Haslam:

“My former friend sporting a For Britain badge, a party violently anti-Islam, filled with ex-BNP and ex-EDL, pro-privatisation, far right and prone to exploiting tragedies to disseminate divisive anti-immigrant rhetoric online ... What happened to ‘It takes guts to be gentle and kind’?”

Just read that rant!

In the 23rd of May 2019 Guardian article World's oldest record store bans Morrissey sales over far-right support we learn that the Cardiff based record shop Spillers Records decided to ban the future sale of all of Morrissey’s albums solely on the grounds of him wearing a For Britain badge.

Also on the 23rd of May 2019 we read in disbelief the article in the Liverpool Echo entitled Commuter offended by Morrissey posters plastered across Merseyrail station about how Merseyrail ordered the removal of posters of Morrissey advertising his album California Son following complaints by "an angry commuter" who complained about the singer’s apparently "controversial views".

On the 24th of May 2019 Morrissey responded to all of this nonsense in his customary manner and eloquently summed up the whole episode:

"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; ... No to Soviet Britain ..."

which was reported in the NME in their 24th of May 2019 article Morrissey responds to “vengeful and paranoid” criticism after he wore far-right badge.

We can no longer expect any form of decent independent and unbiased reporting from the rag that is The Guardian and Morrissey duly responded to their comments about himself. His remarks can be found in the 3rd of June 2019 NME article "Please do not buy this wretched hate-paper”: Morrissey calls out The Guardian for its “hate campaign” against him. Morrissey commented:

"Given the inexhaustible Hate Campaign executed against me by The Guardian and their followers, I am pleased with the UK chart position for ‘California son’ ... BUT WHO WILL GUARD US FROM THEGUARDIAN? No one, it seems. It is worth noting that their chief antagonist in this Hate Campaign is someone I took to court some years ago for writing lies about me. He lost his court battle then, and now he’s seeking his personal revenge by using The Guardian, who have been harassing everyone and anyone connected with my music imploring them to say something terrible about me for print. This is the open face of Soviet Britain.”

His observation that the UK should now be referred to as Soviet Britain is spot on.

I personally would like to see Morrissey simply ignore these people as I think this slanging match is beneath him. However, it is his right to defend himself.

Before slagging off a creative person like Morrissey such people should place on the table for all to examine their portfolio of work and contribution to society.

I noted that the rag that is The Guardian couldn't resist publishing their article Why one fan covered up his Morrissey tattoo with Sheryl Crow on the 25th of July about some arsehole that had a Morrissey tattoo and then shorted after had a line scored through and the name Sheryl Crow instead. When was reporting on such absolute idiots mainstream news? Never, but when it concerns slagging off Morrissey then they make it news.