NME Festival blog: Morrissey calls for “freedom of speech” and shares quote from Noel Gallagher in wake of ‘For Britain’ badge controversy
“Why do YOU not have freedom of speech? Or freedom to wear a badge on TV?” asked the former Smiths singer
Morrissey has spoken out again on the response to his support of far-right party For Britain, seeming to accuse his critics of attacking his “freedom of speech” – while also sharing a quote about his beliefs from Noel Gallagher.
The former Smiths frontman attracted controversy recently after he sported a For Britain badge during a number of live engagements in the US, most notably during a performance on the chat show The Tonight Starring Jimmy Fallon. The musician responded to his “vengeful and paranoid” critics in an online post, writing: “Inventing Britain’s doomsday is the preoccupation of the tabloids, and they can hate you for having lived”
Now in a Tweet to his followers, Morrissey has asked them: “Why do YOU not have freedom of speech? Or freedom to wear a badge on TV?”
His message has received a mixed response on the social network. “Dear Moz, freedom of speech does not include freedom of not being criticised,” wrote one member of Twitter.
“Nobody banned you from wearing your little badge ffs,” wrote one follower. “You were granted the freedom to wear it and others have the freedom to call you a dick for doing so.”
Another added: “You do have the freedom to wear the badge, just deal with the consequences when you do.”
Some fans however, appeared to support Morrissey’s sentiments.
“The sheep don’t understand you, king,” said one, “but the real ones see your authenticity and support you”.
Speaking up for Morrissey’s actions, another fan wrote: “Every hipster on earth adored you Moz, until you stopped thinking the way that they EXPECT you to think. Fuck every last one of them. I love every song you have ever sang, every word you have ever spoken, and every badge you have ever worn. Keep up the great work.”
Meanwhile on Facebook, Morrissey’s official account also shared a section of a new interview with Noel Gallagher in which the former Oasis turned solo star explains his thoughts on the reaction to Morrissey’s behaviour.
“People’s political beliefs are their own,” Gallagher told Manchester Evening News. “If that’s what he believes in, that’s what he believes in.
“I believe in something else. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. I think we live in a society now where everybody who has an opinion, someone will tell them to their face: ‘You’re f***ing wrong.’ But who are you or anybody to say your opinions on anything are wrong, you know what I mean?”
Gallagher continued: “We’re living in strange times, aren’t we, where people’s beliefs are so opposing… It used to be people who were right-wing who were violent, protesting violently.
“Now you see people who are left-wing violently protesting and lobbing milkshakes – where did the milkshakes come from? It’s fucking funny as fuck – over each other.”
The same interview also saw Gallagher hit out at people complaining about the outcome of Brexit.
This comes after Morrissey called on his fans to stop reading The Guardian newspaper for what he calls their “hate campaign” against him. Billy Bragg has spoken out to slam the singer as “the Oswald Mosely of pop“, while Morrissey’s former bandmate Johnny Marr said that he “wasn’t worried” about his actions soiling the legacy of The Smiths for a new generation.
“I don’t think you can change history,” Marr told NME. “I’ve said that before. I’m not worried. It’s got nothing to do with my world or my life. The songs are out there for people to judge, relate to and hear. I think that’s all going to be forgotten in a few weeks, as these things inevitably are – for better or worse. It’s always been that way. I understand the issue, but I’m used to stuff coming and going. I don’t worry about people missing out on the culture.”
Last month also say Merseyrail remove posters promoting his new album following a customer complaint about the singer’s political views.
“It’s very Third Reich, isn’t it?” Morrissey replied. “And it proves how only the feelings of the most narrow-minded can be considered within the British Arts.
“We are not free to debate, and this in itself is the ultimate rejection of diversity. If you ever see Question Time on BBC1 it is always exactly the same panel. I am afraid we are living through The Age of Stupid, and we must pray that it passes soon. I’m only surprised that Mary Whitehouse isn’t on the ten pound note. But, no, I’m not about to go into combat with Mersey Rail … could life get any more mediocre?”
He added that he sees his “position in the UK” as “suddenly so abstract”. “The ONLY thing I haven’t been blamed for is the Normandy Invasion of 1944,” he said. “Give them time, I suppose.”
The nationalist party was founded by the anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters after she was defeated in the 2017 UKIP leadership election. The controversy and association for Morrissey began when he discussed accusations of racism and alleged connections between Halal meat and ISIS. He also referred to Hitler as ‘left wing’ and said that London Mayor Sadiq Khan “can not talk properly”. He later issued a new statement in which he said he “despised racism and fascism” and voiced his support for Muslims, while also advocating For Britain.
For Britain leader Anne-Marie Waters later shared a new message of gratitude for the singer on Youtube.
“Thank you so much for your support since the UKIP leadership election,” she said. “Thank you for giving us so much publicity.”
She continued: “I can tell you that the traffic to our website exploded with the story breaking of you wearing the For Britain button badge, which you have been wearing everywhere from what I can see. We have sold out of those, but the good news is we have more, and they have been selling like hot cakes, so thank you very much for doing that.”
Waters added: “Thank you, Morrissey. I hope to meet you one day. Thank you, Daily Mail. Keep up the hysterical smearing. It’s having the opposite effect. You are driving people to us.”
Straight from the NME
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