As Morrissey stirs new controversy with nearly every action these days, it’s harder than ever for fans and fellow musicians to stay on his side. The former The Smiths frontman’s outspoken support of the far-right For Britain party and quotes like “everyone ultimately prefers their own race” have divided one-time devotees. Some, like Nick Cave and and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers have attempted to separate the art from the artists, while others including Billy Bragg haven’t pulled punches in publicly rebuking the hard-to-love singer. Now, Bragg has once again slammed Morrissey, while also questioning Flowers’ praise.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Bragg pointed to a video Morrissey shared on his website under the title “Nothing But Blue Skies For Stormzy … the gallows for Morrissey”. Though the clip has since been pulled, Bragg described it as a “white supremacist video” that borrowed footage from Stormzy’s headlining Glastonbury performance “while arguing that the British establishment are using him to promote multiculturalism at the expense of white culture.” The channel that posted the original video also features clips about the “Great Replacement Theory,” a conspiracy belief that mass immigration and cultural warfare is being used to eliminate the white populations of Europe and North America.
“…[Morrissey] 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,'” Bragg wrote. “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.”
Bragg concluded his post by writing,
“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.”
Bragg also noted that there wasn’t much media awareness about Morrissey posting the Stormzy video, with headlines instead focusing on Flowers saying Moz is “still a king.” While the Killers frontman immediately clarified that he was only referring to The Smiths singer’s musical legacy, Bragg still called his esteem for Morrissey into question. In particular, he argued that holding Morrissey in such high regard could be “unwittingly helping to propagate white supremacist tropes,” as he later said in a tweet. To make his point, he noted that Moz’s current discourse directly contradicts some of The Killers’ own music:
“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’?”