It’s an old story: Morrissey voices support of right-wing ideologues, and then he reacts with indignant disbelief at the idea that anyone might be upset with him for supporting right-wing ideologues. In the past couple of years, Morrissey has spoken up in favor with far-right figures like France’s Marine Le Pen and the UK’s For Britain party, an even-further-right offshoot of UKIP. Most recently, Morrissey wore a For Britain pin while performing on The Tonight Show. Shortly afterward, he issued a statement about the media’s “contorted interpretation of who and what I am.” And now he’s shared a new interview on his website, where he denies that he’s racist while continuing to endorse For Britain.
Morrissey’s interviewer is Sam Esty Raymer, a photographer who is also his nephew. Raymer is, shall we say, a sympathetic party. (First question, which is not actually a question: “I wanted to interview you myself because I am absolutely sick of reading terrible things about you in the UK press.”) And the interview amounts to a sort of greatest-hits of Morrissey’s recent favorite subjects: His hatred for the media, his own persecution, the persecution of various far-right figures, the injustice of the chart figures that don’t properly record his own popularity, the evils of meat consumption, and, finally, the music he’s been making lately.
Here, for example, is Morrissey on the idea that the For Britain politicians that he supports are racist:
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.
Morrissey also draws attention to David Bowie’s brief fascination with fascism, arguing that he’s getting a rawer deal in the press than Bowie did. And he says that his treatment in the press is “all very KKK.” And speaking of the press, here’s Morrissey on why he hasn’t pursued legal action against the British newspaper The Guardian, his favorite target:
As a so-called entertainer, I have no human rights … apparently… because you put yourself “out there.” If I were a postman I would have won a Harassment Case against The Guardian and been awarded 10 million pounds in damages by now. You might wave The Guardian aside and simply say, well, they’re just loudly ridiculous, but at the same time you must wonder about their legal status and acceptable standards of journalism, and how to distinguish …. if you can … between what is actual news, and what is written with a full intent to cause harm. The Guardian have pestered and relentlessly harassed musicians in my life urging them not to work with me again. Now, this is not journalistic opinion at work, it is hate with the sole intent of making me a public target. In these days of casual knife crime and hurling of acid, you’d expect The Guardian to maintain a certain careful morality. But no. If I suffered physical harm as a direct result of The Guardian’s tyranny, you can imagine cheers and champagne exploding through their offices… it chills the blood. The Guardian fully believes it is a political party.
(There’s a lot more about The Guardian in there, too.)
Morrissey also claims that he has never supported UKIP or Nigel Farage, but he also says that Farage “would make a good Prime Minister … if any of us can actually remember what a good Prime Minister is.” And here’s what he says about For Britain and its leader Anne Marie Waters:
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.
In slightly more conciliatory news, Morrissey also says a few things about the Cure frontman Robert Smith, his fellow theatrically glum UK rock icon. Morrissey and Smith spent years trashing each other in the press, but in the new interview, Morrissey says that he regrets the things he said about Smith:
I said some terrible things about him 35 years ago … but I didn’t mean them … I was just being very Grange Hill. It’s great when you can blame everything on Tourette’s syndrome… I take no moral responsibility for whatever I said in 1983 … after all … who does?
You can read the full interview here.