Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, tolerance of others’ points of view. This is not a difficult concept to understand. But when it comes to freedom of choice, and the idea that actions can have consequences, that’s when it becomes a problem for the inmates at Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago.
Editor Brendan O’Neill has taken time off from “triggering the Libs” to tell anyone not yet asleep “Morrissey is the rock rebel we need right now … You don’t have to agree with everything he says to appreciate his one-man war on conformist thought”. Backing a fascist political party has, in the retelling, become “war on conformist thought”.
But do go on. “A UK record store is refusing to stock the Mancunian legend’s work on the basis of his offensive comments”. Morrissey? A legend? Whatever. “Spillers Records in Cardiff, the oldest record store in the world, has banished Moz’s output from its premises because its owners don’t like his political views, in particular his support for the anti-Islam party, For Britain”. I don’t like the zound of these ‘ere Boncentration Bamps.
Heaven knows, he's even more miserable now
This support for someone backing a fascist party is accompanied by the usual straw man: “in these people’s view everyone who didn’t vote Remain in 2016 and who doesn’t check their privilege on a weekly basis is a massive racist”. No. Just no. Someone exercised their freedom of choice and excluded Morrissey’s product from their business. That is all.
O’Neill also has a sneaking admiration for good old-fashioned anti-Black racism. Apart from “liking” Brexit, he tells, Morrissey “isn’t a fan of Diane Abbott. (‘British politics is a moral disaster on every level… even Tesco wouldn’t employ Diane Abbott’, he said recently, which, I’m sorry, is hilarious.) … I like what he says about … Diane Abbott”.
Tesco wouldn’t employ a Cambridge graduate who just happens to be Black, and that’s hilarious, is it, Bren? Small wonder he’s got no problem promoting someone who is vehemently Islamophobic and supports a fascist political party. But he does have some logic behind his backing for Morrissey, however twisted that may be,
Here it comes: “the fact is that he’s a national treasure. He just is. And like all national treasures - the Queen Mum, David Attenborough, Noel Gallagher - he’s a bit mental”. I hate to break this to you, Bren, but One, Morrissey is not a “National Treasure”, and Two, comparing him to David Attenborough is beyond ridiculous.
What is equally ridiculous is O’Neill’s continuing, and desperate, defence of the indefensible. “You may not like what he says, but there’s no doubting that he is grating against the conformist outlook of the stuffy new elites, very knowingly too, in that way that rock rebels are meant to”. No. Just no. It’s got Sweet Fanny Adams to do with “elites” - and Bren, you’re part of the media elite, so don’t call “elite” on others.
Nor has it got anything to do with “Political Correctness”. Morrissey supports a fascist political party. He’s a bigot. That’s his freedom of choice. Those who run a record store in Cardiff have declined to stock his material. That’s their freedom of choice.
But fascinating to see the great Brendan O’Neill making light of supporting fascism, while dabbling in a little racism of his own. It really should have been Spiked, shouldn’t it?
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