Mixing Pop and Politics
Morrissey's in trouble over comments he made about immigrants in England: "England is a memory now," he says, in an interview with the NME published yesterday. "The gates are flooded and anybody can have access to England and join in." … Read More
Morrissey's in trouble over comments he made about immigrants in England:
"England is a memory now," he says, in an interview with the NME published yesterday. "The gates are flooded and anybody can have access to England and join in."
He goes on: "Although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous. Travel to England and you have no idea where you are. It matters because the British identity is very attractive. I grew up into it and I find it very quaint and amusing. Other countries have held on to their basic identity, yet it seems to me that England was thrown away.
"You can't say, 'Everybody come into my house, sit on the bed, have what you like, do what you like.' It wouldn't work."
Not quite Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech, but still breathtaking to behold from the man who calls George Bush and Tony Blair the inverted images of Osama bin Laden, and who thinks everyone in America is fat and stupid.
Mozzer's done this before with "National Front Disco," and I think in about a half decade there'll be a strong case for supposing him the strange, paradoxical standard-bearer of Larkinesque Little Englander sentiment. (Though the Pope of Mope has moved to Rome, so who knows?)
Larkin also didn't like the states: he'd never been here because he thought New York and L.A. were separated by "vast deserts of bigotry," which is an interesting turn of phrase from the great poet who was shabbily branded a racist when his correspondence and biography were published in the mid-90's. Terry Eagleton, lately the P.C. Torquemada lying and crying about Martin Amis, was at the fore of that thoroughly unenlightening and banal "row," too.
But Morrissey poses an interesting test for les bien-pensant. His politics is hardly right-wing in any definable way, and his tragically hip fans will go to any length to defend him. One of those fans — and how's this for irony? — is David Cameron, the leader of the Tory party, which has lately become green and multiculturalist to a cloying degree.
Still more irony? When I interviewed Billy Bragg a few summers ago he told me, in preparation for his book on English patriotism (!), that he'd amassed a new stable of favorite writers. They were: Peter Hitchens, Roger Scruton and Geoffrey Wheatcroft. (Now Bill's still more of a well-meaning socialist, and I'll love him forever for stumping for Oona King over George Galloway. But he's a socialist with a few warm beer-and-roast beef tendencies of cultural rootedness that "complicate" this image.)
There's a saying in my Eustonian part of the Anglo-American blogosphere apart from the one made famous by Nick Cohen's book title. "We are doomed."