Morrissey and immigration


by Sunny
30th November, 2007 at 4:35 pm    

Jeevan Vasagar at the Guardian has written a piece titled: ‘Why this British Asian doesn’t listen to Morrissey any more‘. Obviously it would be annoying to find out that your music idol was a raving lunatic (although that’s not clear here because Morrissey is suing NME for allegedly twisting around his words on immigration).

On this CIF article, which I broadly agree with, a commenter sums up my own views: “Any chance that someone can let us know what English culture is and how it is being strangled by immigrants?”
Update: ON Cif, Tim Jonze confirms Morrissey was worse than we thought.


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  1. World Religion Resources

    World Religion Resources…

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting…




  1. Sofia — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

    isn’t english calture being squeezed like when you av fish n chips and instead of vinegar you put curry pawder on..

  2. Boyo — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

    From what I can gather he may have been quite seriously misrepresented (although I also can’t believe no one had the story legalled). For a start I don’t believe he said “strangled”.

    Equally however, I would argue there IS such a thing as British culture, just as there is French, German, Indian and Chinese, and to argue otherwise is to be as racist as Morrissey is being made out to be.

    Unless of course you are Sunny who argues the British aren’t a race. However, thankfully he believes Islamophobia is racist, therefore it is presumably possible to be a part of the non-race of Britons and still be the victim of racism…?!

    Phew.

  3. Boyo — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

    Curry is the new fish n’ chips btw Sonia, and you can’t get more British than that.

    But seriously, one characteristic of the British culture is its cheerful promiscuity and cosmopolitanism, is it not?

    And certainly the Indian influence, like tea, which is so very British but would not have been recognised in the court of Queen Bess. But that does not mean it is not British, just as the abundance of the English language in India makes the Indians less Indian.

  4. Boyo — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:56 pm  

    I mean “does not” of course.

  5. Sunny — on 30th November, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

    Unless of course you are Sunny who argues the British aren’t a race

    ‘white’ is a race. When did British become a race? You mean Anglo-Saxon?

    Tell us about British culture Boyo. Keep in mind however that most people in Britain must have, at one point, being following that culture.

  6. Morgoth — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:07 pm  

    There’s no such thing as “race”. There’s just a whole gamut of variations in pigment tones in the outer skin. Its inconsequential (or should be).

  7. Boyo — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:12 pm  

    Dammit, and another thing. “Any chance that someone can let us know what English culture is and how it is being strangled by immigrants?”

    It’s an utterly false question, yet is taken time and time again to demonstrate there is “no” British culture. Yet, ask that question of French or American or Chinese and you would come up with the same answer – a list of characteristics – yet the whole is greater than the sum of parts and THAT’S what differentiates an Englishman from a Frenchman and so on.

    As for the “strangled” part – I don’t agree that it is. BUT I do believe that a false reality has been created over the past 30 years or so by a well-intentioned yet misguided left (whether in or out of power through the public sector and media) which has created a multi-cultural myth when in fact this is far from the truth in real life (I work with many races and religions, but we’re all Londoners for heaven’s sake).

    Add to this a general sense over the past five years that many people feel of not having “control” over their lives through the e-revolution, globalisation, the rights culture, Choice, etc and people feel disorientated. This can lead to all kinds of misconceptions.

  8. El Cid — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:15 pm  

    i thought white was a colour not a race.
    so is indian a separate race because it’s brown?
    i thought indians were caucasian too
    please explain. not clear at all.

  9. Boyo — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:16 pm  

    I think I answered your point about culture in 7 Sunny. I think I’ve made my point about your racial schizophrenia.

  10. Boyo — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:19 pm  

    Now I’m off to that very British institution, the pub.

  11. El Cid — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:26 pm  

    Anyway, it’s nonsense to argue that immigration hasn’t changed britain when it self-evidently has.
    And if someone misses the ghost of britain past, that’s their right. I believe it’s called nostalgia.
    Of course, it’s also nonsense that briutain has changed solely because of immigration, but that’s another matter.

    P.S. I never liked Morrisey. Thought he was well overrated. But to decide you don’t like the work of an artiste you previously loved because you don’t like the person — that’s like refusing to admire the work of Mr Brunel because he was a bully or rubbishing da Vinci because he liked little boys or dissin’ Ray Charles becaise he was a womaniser. Get over yourselves.

  12. Don — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:33 pm  

    Isn’t culture (in this sense)whatever the people around you were doing when you were growing up?

    So individuals who grew up in the Orkneys in the 1940′s, Darlington in the 50′s, Belfast in the 70′s or Henley in the 80′s will perceive their culture differently. There may be common factors, but I can’t think of many that could reasonably described as predominantly British.

  13. Natty — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:01 pm  

    Why are people listening to a bloke living in Italy who previously lived in america giving lectures on Britishness!!!!!!!!!!

    What is British Culture?!

    Culture evolves and adapts over time.

    British Culture is watching US Films at the cinema, Aussie Soaps on TV, driving German or Japanese Cars, drinking German or Australian Beer/Larger, Eating a Turkish Kebab, owning a Japanese TV, Swedish Furniture, holidaying in Spain or Greece and then saying yuo are losing British Culture!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Jean-Luc Gascard — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:07 pm  

    I couldn’t agree more…..there’s too many survivors of the potato famine masquerading as English[wo]men.

    An English[wo]man can’t walk out the door without confronting the “ample Jews”, Blacks, Browns and the Yellows.

    I agree with Morrisey…and I agreed with David Bowie when he said “Hitler was a rock star.”

    Winter always makes me nostalgic and think of the good old days when our wives and daughters walk around without big and aggressive Blacks trying it on.

  15. Leon — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

    Well this wouldn’t be the first time this idiot has done this…anyway, anyone else think it’s a bit rich hearing this from someone who doesn’t even bloody live in the country??

  16. Sid — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

    Winter always makes me nostalgic and think of the good old days when our wives and daughters walk around without big and aggressive Blacks trying it on.

    Yeah I remember 1473 well. There were only three channels and we would all sit around a fire eating curds and whey and dad had bubonic plague.

  17. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 8:01 pm  

    Puts me in mind of when I was about 13, and some bastard told me the Pet Shop Boys were gay. Rubbish, no way would I like gay music. Then: OMFG it’s true, I like gay music. Am I actually a foaming fudgepacker? How do I tell dad I’m an utterly uphill gardener?

    Following much anguish I concluded that liking someone’s music didn’t actually have anything to do with liking their views or emulating their lifestyles. Quite a relief for my bottom, that. As long as the lyrics weren’t going to embarass me too much, I decided to just enjoy the music I enjoyed. Still do.

    NB The Pet Shop Boys in the early 80s were cool. Or at least they were to a 13 year old twat.

  18. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 8:04 pm  

    “‘white’ is a race. When did British become a race? You mean Anglo-Saxon?”

    All the recent evidence points to the British being far more Celtic than anything else. Which is frankly a tad embarrassing, so excuse us our current cultural uncertainties and cut us a bit of slack, eh?

  19. Gibs — on 30th November, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

    It’s amazing how many people who leave Britain and move abroad claim that their reason for doing so is that the country is being swamped by too many “bloody foreigners/f***ing immigrants”.

    They seem to be oblivious hypocrisy of their situation – that they too have become “bloody foreigners/f***ing immigrants”.

    Here’s hoping that the native born populations of the country to which they have emigrated start describing them as such. If it happens often enough, these people may just begin to understand their own hypocrisy.

  20. Piggy — on 30th November, 2007 at 8:25 pm  

    The two things about Morrissey is that he is a) a romantic and b) a showman that loves the attention that comes from controversy. These traits are a large part of the reason why I and many others consider him to be an untouchable genius, but occasionally it leads to him saying things that are a pretty daft. This appears to be the case here: Romantic view of a lost England that has only ever existed in Morrissey’s head and episodes of ‘Heartbeat’ + a cavalier mode of expression + the NME hype machine = Another ‘racist’ scandal.

    Ultimately the ‘racist’ case against Morrissey the first time around was based on the one line from ‘Bengali in Platforms’, a deliberate misunderstanding of ‘We’ll Let You Know’ and ‘National Front Disco’ and the Madstock fiasco where Morrissey was actually bottled by racist skinheads. So I don’t really get Jeevan Vasaga’s anger. Maybe I’d feel different if I was liable to be a victim of racism but for me, although Morrissey says stupid things from time to time he really isn’t racist.

    Among other things Morrissey has expressed support for the ALF and described the slaughter of animals for meat as being ‘exactly’ like the holocaust. Both opinions strike me as being entirely ridiculous but I’m still going to carry on listening to Morrissey records.

    I don’t know, sometimes I wish Morrissey would be more careful but then he wouldn’t be Morrissey. Also I can’t help thinking that the last time this happened, he ended up writing ‘Speedway’, so maybe it’ll be worth it in the end.

  21. El Cid — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:08 pm  

    Jean Luc
    You’re clearly a windup

  22. Inders — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:26 pm  

    Why is there always a question what British culture is?

    Look around. Its everywhere.

  23. Sid — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:16 pm  

    I don’t think Morrissey is racist. He says some dodgy things, ‘Asian Rut’ and ‘Bengali in Platforms’ were disgraceful, he’s said some pretty stupid things about black music, and when it comes to immigration, he’s clearly ignorant. But nevertheless, none of these things makes the man a racist. And yes I shall be going to go see him in January because there’s only one Mozza!

  24. septicisle — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:41 pm  

    Much as I enjoy his music, Morrissey comes across in these comments as many other ex-pats do who haven’t been around here for a while: they simply believe what they read or is related to them.

  25. Leon — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:45 pm  

    The guy’s a prick either way you look at it.

  26. Piggy — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:59 pm  

    Leon I don’t know if you spotted this, but you appear to have accidentally typed ‘prick’ where you clearly meant ‘god-like genius’

  27. Piggy — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:11 pm  

    Sid, I’ll give you ‘Bengali..’ but I’m less sure about ‘Asian Rut’, aside from the obviously provocative title. It’s about a racist murder, but I can’t see any racist sentiment in there, in the same way that ‘We’ll Let You Know’ and ‘National Front Disco’ have lines that can be made to sound racist when quoted out of context by NME journalists.

    Also it can be discounted on the basis that it’s on ‘Kill Uncle’.

  28. Sunny — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:11 pm  

    Why is there always a question what British culture is?

    Because it’s like Indian culture – not so easy to define. People live how they want to, innit. They can be as British as they want to, or as Indian. Doesn’t bother me… but clearly it does to people like Boyo… and Morrissey.

  29. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2007 at 12:01 am  

    I welcome the article. Not because i have any ill feeling towards Morrissey.

    Its just that Morrissey fans are very very funny to watch when they get wound up for the umpteenth time. They’re a cross between the types who write outraged letters to the Daily Mail about how sick and tired they are about something, and a 2 year old throwing a tantrum.

  30. Clairwil — on 1st December, 2007 at 12:30 am  

    Personally couldn’t give a fuck whether he’s racist or not. I like him, I like his music but I disagree with his views on immigration, animal rights, political assassination and the provisional IRA. Though I admit to being a supporter of the IRA at the time he made his supportive comments many years ago.

    My own tuppence worth is up at my own blog. Oh and as for the racist songs bit I’m not going to concede Bengali. It was merely poorly punctuated.

  31. douglas clark — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:02 am  

    Clairwil,

    I have no idea what he’s about. If you like his music, that’s fine by me. I have spent some time spreading my own, probably horrible, musical opinions all over this web site. Read, and probably weep. T’was not my intention, but The Incredible Alex Harvey Band should make you cry. This, I stand up for. This is genius.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zqx5j-FuqeI

  32. Rohin — on 1st December, 2007 at 3:02 am  

    Point One: Of course there is such a thing as British culture; I’m very proud of it.

    We only find other countries easy to define in terms of culture because we don’t know them as well. We talk about French culture or German culture, but only because we are taking a narrow viewpoint of what those terms mean.

    It’s never easy to define the character of a country.

    Point Two: I don’t care if Morrissey did or didn’t say this stuff, I’ve thought for many years that he is, in fact, a penis. His music stopped being important years ago.

  33. SajiniW — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:37 am  

    Culture evolves; fish ‘n’ chips was a Jewish invention which won people’s hearts; curry will do the same. I look forward to the new cuisines of recent immigrants and hope they find a way of sending stodgy hot puddings with custard a thing of the past.

    Wrt France, Time magazine had a feature on why their cultural relevance was declining. The only French types making waves are immigrant rappers and poets anyway :D

    Morrissey has a history of attention-seeking. I don’t think the man’s a racist though – he’s performed at anti-apartheid and Unite Against Fascism gigs. Still think his music sucks though.

  34. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2007 at 9:27 am  
  35. Rumbold — on 1st December, 2007 at 10:49 am  

    Rubbish music, horrible opinions.

  36. Boyo — on 1st December, 2007 at 10:59 am  

    “They can be as British as they want to, or as Indian. Doesn’t bother me… but clearly it does to people like Boyo… and Morrissey.”

    Oooh… get him.

    I think anyone who reads my comments can draw their own conclusions about what bothers me or not, and I suspect most will conclude I’m rather unbothered.

    Yet as ever it’s not about that, is it. The NME stands firmly with Sunny and Ronan on one side of the fence and if you dare to question their orthodoxy, then yer a bleeding racist aint yer. Ya boo.

    Or as Martin Amis said in today’s Grauniad: “Your disgrace isn’t social; your disgrace is moral, intellectual and artistic…” It’s the side your bread is buttered on, isn’t it, and “no one’s going to bother you about that.”

  37. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2007 at 11:43 am  

    On this CIF article, which I broadly agree with, a commenter sums up my own views: “Any chance that someone can let us know what English culture is and how it is being strangled by immigrants?”

    I think it is disgraceful the way some of us seem to pull the ‘racism’ card out of the hat so easily. It really undermines the meaning of the word. There is a very clear line between believing that a country should follow a single culture in which immigrants should adopt (the French model) regardless of race, and the idea that a society should be formed by people of the same race (the BNP model). Multiracial and multicultural are two different concepts, and don’t let the BNP or Jeevan Vasgar conflate those two terms.

    Having said that, I think Morrisey and others are being silly when they talk about preserving culture and identity. Identity and culture change and have changed dramatically in each generation – technology, laws enacted have as much impact in change as the new people that come to these shores.

    So, identity and culture are merely snapshots of the present. To claim that our identity should be a particular snapshot of the past, is like looking in the mirror when you are 80 and say: this old face is not me, the real me is a 20-year old. Our identity is what we are, not what we should be.

  38. Sid — on 1st December, 2007 at 12:30 pm  

    Mozza Mozza Mozza!!!

  39. halima — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

    It’s interesting that Morrisey should call for the preservation of culture – it would be as interesting (if they did) as the sex pistols calling for the preservation of the queen – given that their claims to fame was based on anti-establishment messages.

    Agree with prev messages that white and black are not ‘races’, indeed lots of people have argued tirelessly to say that ‘race’ is an invented catogory – and both white and black can only mean anything in a specific context. So some have argued that Jamaicans only thought of themselves as ‘black’ in the 1970s due to the specific devlopments in the Caribbean and immigration to other parts of the world. I didn’t realise I was ‘black’ or ‘Asian’ until I made contact with the white world (probably quite violently somewhere in a school playground eons ago) – so it’s that collision that brings out definitions and identity, rather than ‘races’ being purely white or black. Pigments, as someone said earlier, is more relevant here.

    I’d also agree that immigration is changing Britain, indeed, the world, isn’t that what globalisation means in practice? Why should Britain be immune to this? If anything a country with the size of of an empire as prolific as Britain in the 19th century should expect to be influnced by the culture, traditions of its colonial hinterlands eventually. Isn’t that what the phrase the Empire Strikes Back means?

    Halima

  40. Rohin — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    Isn’t that what the phrase the Empire Strikes Back means?

    No no, that’s when the Galactic Empire forces the Rebel Army to hide out on Hoth then captures the Rebel base with Imperial Walkers. Meanwhile Luke kicks back on Dagobah with Frank Oz, Leia falls for Han who falls in carbonite before Luke falls down a hole to get away from his father.

  41. halima — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:57 pm  

    I can’t remember the details of Star Wars but believe you nevertheless ..

  42. soru — on 1st December, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    ‘Because it’s like Indian culture – not so easy to define.’

    That’s more a problem with the word ‘definition’ than the word ‘British’. You can’t reasonably expect something massively complicated, fluid and fuzzy like patterns of human behaviour, communication and identity to be accurately tied down by a few simple unambiguous words.

    You seem to be in danger of thinking not only that you can do that, but that you must be able to. That failure to put a thing in a simple rigid box is proof that thing doesn’t exist.

    That seems like a pretty foolish mistake, the kind of dead end only a smart person could talk themself into.

  43. Shoque — on 1st December, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

    Does Morrisey understand the irony of being an immigrant in America and Italy, and decrying immigration to England?

  44. Shoque — on 1st December, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    Multiracial and multicultural are two different concepts, and don’t let the BNP or Jeevan Vasgar conflate those two terms.

    Thos two poles of extremities, the BNP and Jeevan Vasagar. Their names belong together in infamy, indeed. Good way to make a point.

    +++++++++++

    If ‘culture’ is malleable then cultures adapt. Castigating those who believe that cultures can be inclusive and expansive as subverting the essence of a society is as stupid as ‘playing the race card’

    (please don’t get angry Ravi Naik, I’m not saying that is what you are doing, just making a point)

  45. Shoque — on 1st December, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    Does Morrisey like us Asians? Well, he certainly sings about us a lot. I have a feeling what he pines for is a nice brown skinned boyfriend. He’s not a racist, just an Alan Bennet kind of nostalgist, indulging in what many immigrants tend to do (because he is an immigrant himself), and that is wistfully being nostalgic for the ‘lost land’ he left behind.

    Listen and enjoy:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=MqopTnmxkM0

    Asian Rut lyrics:

    Day oh so late
    Strangely the sun still shone
    Ooh Asian boy
    What are you on ?
    Day oh so late
    Strangely the sun still shone
    Oh Asian boy
    What are drugs are you on ?

    Oh… strange

    Tooled-up Asian boy
    Has come to take revenge
    For the cruel, cold killing
    Of his very best friend
    Tooled-up Asian boy
    Has come to avenge
    The cruel, cold killing
    Of his only friend

    Ha! La, la, la, oh …

    There’s peace through our school
    It’s so quiet in the hall
    It’s a strange sign for one
    Of what’s to come
    Tough and cold and pale
    Oh, they may just impale you on railings
    Oh, English boys
    It must be wrong
    Three against one ?

    Oh …

    Brakes slammed, and
    His gun jammed, and
    As far as I could tell
    Brave Asian boy
    Was dealt a blow and fell

    I’m just passing through here
    On my way to somewhere civilised
    And maybe I’ll even arrive

  46. Shoque — on 1st December, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    I include first generation Asian immigrants in the wistful-nostalgia category of course, how many times have you heard them go on about how beautiful and nice Bangaldesh or India is and how much it has changed since they were last there? Similar impulse.

  47. Rumbold — on 1st December, 2007 at 5:19 pm  

    Rohin:

    Imperial Walkers? Surely AT-ATs?

  48. Sunny — on 1st December, 2007 at 5:26 pm  

    That seems like a pretty foolish mistake, the kind of dead end only a smart person could talk themself into.

    soru I’m not sure if you’re insulting me here or not… so I’ll refrain from building an effigy of you and burning it.

  49. El Cid — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:20 pm  

    Culture evolves; fish ‘n’ chips was a Jewish invention

    An intriguing statement. I demand evidence SajiniW.
    Surely frying fish is ummmm hard to pin down to any part of the world. And, well, on the chips front, someone must have decided to cut potatoes — native to Latam, not Europe — and fried them. I’ve never come across anyone saying chips are Latam, so I assume they were European. C’mon, where’s the evidence?
    You can’t just say stuff like that without backing it up.
    Some of us are history majors! Our curiosity must be surprised.

    Kulvinder, I agree, Smithsonians are an odd bunch. I remember someone at Uni insisting that Morrisey was “the most essential person of the 20th century.”
    Give me a break! Maybe I just didn’t get it.

  50. El Cid — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:25 pm  

    Our curiosity must be surprised.

    What a weird thing to say!
    I meant satisfied, not surprised.

  51. Chairwoman — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:31 pm  

    El Cid – Apparently Dutch Jews brought fried fish to Britain. We fry fish on Friday to eat cold on Saturday, thereby avoiding cooking on the Sabbath. I don’t know where the batter came from, as we usually fry fish dipped in egg and Matzo Meal.

    As chips appear to have originated in Flanders, or Belgium as it’s known today, it seems plausible.

  52. El Cid — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:40 pm  

    Get away! I need more than that!

  53. El Cid — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:47 pm  

    Hey, according to Wiki, it was the Spics (yessss!) who invented fish fried in batter and .. indeed .. the Belgians who delivered the first recorded chips. Jewish seem to have helped spread it around like bees pollinating flowers.
    Can you believe Tempura was introduced into Japan by the Portuguese, who are quasi-Spic, so we take the credit for that too.
    It’s in the wiki, so it must be true.

  54. El Cid — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:49 pm  

    Oh yes, and technology helped spread the dish to the masses, thereby making it popular (development of deep sea fishing). So the Brits take credit for that, right!
    Everyone’s happy.

  55. Chairwoman — on 1st December, 2007 at 9:26 pm  

    Actually that makes a lot of sense.

    Spanish Jews went to The Netherlands when they were expelled from Spain by the Inquisition taking their fried fish with them. There they picked up chips, and brought the combination to England when they moved here during the Reformation.

  56. halima — on 1st December, 2007 at 9:28 pm  

    and Fish and Chips is still traditionally served in England on Friday.

  57. El Cid — on 1st December, 2007 at 9:40 pm  

    fish on Friday? Think dat’s a christian ting

  58. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2007 at 11:33 pm  

    Thos two poles of extremities, the BNP and Jeevan Vasagar. Their names belong together in infamy, indeed. Good way to make a point.

    I am telling the way I see it: the BNP wants to conflate multiracial with multicultural, because it is a way for the party not to use the word ‘race’. Whereas brown people like Jeevan Vasagar seem to use ‘racism’ as a commodity.

    “If ‘culture’ is malleable then cultures adapt. Castigating those who believe that cultures can be inclusive and expansive as subverting the essence of a society is as stupid as ‘playing the race card’
    please don’t get angry Ravi Naik, I’m not saying that is what you are doing, just making a point.”

    Shoque, I didn’t get your point…

  59. Kulvinder — on 1st December, 2007 at 11:33 pm  

    Hmm mentioning belgium in #53 reminded me to check if it still exists…

    Oooo yes it does, but only just; i know its incredibly childish but i can’t help but want to stand around them and shout ‘fight! fight! fight!’

  60. Shoque — on 1st December, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

    I am telling the way I see it: the BNP wants to conflate multiracial with multicultural, because it is a way for the party not to use the word ‘race’. Whereas brown people like Jeevan Vasagar seem to use ‘racism’ as a commodity

    Ravi Naik, it’s a stupid comparison. The BNP is an organised cadre of racial British nationalists, Jeevan Vasagar is an individual with an opinion who profers no social threat to society.

    And nowhere does Vasagar ‘play the racism’ card. If you read his piece he just feels uncomfortable that an artist whose work he once found refuge in now holds opinions he disagrees with, that at some level echo prejudices that have been expressed towards him as the son of an immigrant. It’s a little melancholy and nunaced piece of experience-journalism offering a personal view on something. For that he is hoist by you on a flagpole with the BNP. The only one playing a fast card is you. Get some perspective for goodness sake.

    Shoque, I didn’t get your point…

    I’m surprised that you didn’t. I’ll try and explain it better to you.

    If you believe that ‘culture’ is malleable then all cultures adapt and change to circumstance (and you do believe this because you say so).

    Castigating those who believe that cultures can be inclusive and expansive as insidiously subverting the ‘essence’ of a society is as stupid as ‘playing the race card’.

    I said that this might not apply to you because I don’t know enough about your views to address it to you. It was more like a general coda to my main point. If you don’t understand don’t worry.

  61. Shoque — on 2nd December, 2007 at 12:09 am  

    Whereas brown people like Jeevan Vasagar seem to use ‘racism’ as a commodity

    Seriously, you didn’t even read Jeevan Vasagar’s piece, did you? The trouble when you try to fit ‘brown people’ who ‘seem’ to fit into your theories is that they end up getting misrepresented erroneously. Individual life is traduced, different perspectives mangled. Seems like all you see is what seems to look like what you think the world seems to look like. It probably is the case that some people ‘play the race card’ too loosely — Jeevan Vasagar sure as hell isn’t one of them.

    I’m probably comparable to the BNP for saying that, right? There’s only a certain distance you can discuss in good faith with this dump truck mentality.

  62. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2007 at 12:30 am  

    Ravi Naik, it’s a stupid comparison. The BNP is an organised cadre of racial British nationalists, Jeevan Vasagar is an individual with an opinion who profers no social threat to society.

    Shoque, I do apologise if you misunderstood me, but I am not comparing Jeevan Vasagar with the BNP: I am saying that both conflate those two terms: multiculturism and multiracialism for their own *different* reasons or agendas. And they are both wrong in my view.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t. I’ll try and explain it better to you.

    Don’t overestimate me, I am not a smart person, but I am interested on what you want to say. But you used the same words again. In particular, what does “believing that cultures can be inclusive and expansive as insidiously subverting the ‘essence’ of a society” actually mean? You might be on to something…

  63. Kismet Hardy — on 2nd December, 2007 at 1:09 am  

    If this has been said before I apologise. I’m on too much drugs to read. But the cases in pont are:

    Bengali on platforms: If life’s shit for my people, how hard must it be for a confirmed victime like you?

    Asian rut: Asian kid gets bullied, has to fight back

    National front disco: Working class white woman bemoans her child joining the far right

    as far as the new argument goes, we’re all so right on we dare not say anything about immigration without sounding right wing, or hypocritical – you’re a bangladeshi boatman, you could say to me (because I am a first generation freshie), but this isn’t about saying: oi you black man, get out. Oi you brown man, get out. Oi you Polish man, get out.

    It’s about saying okay, we’re all british, this is a fucking great country that can be relied on helping the world’s truly fucked up (although I’d like to see more Iraqis and Afghanistanis being given asylum here considering we fucked them up) but someone needs to say: hang on. Where does this end?

    Because if Britain gets too overpopulated and, as Mozza says, loses its identity because foreigners bring their customs and mosques with them, it will lead to hostility and unemployment and that will effect MY CHILDREN.

    Why do you come here when you know it makes things hard for me? Mozza said

    Damn fucking straight

  64. Boyo — on 2nd December, 2007 at 8:43 am  

    Ironic really, given that Moz made one of the most articulate expressions of modern English identity in his latest album:

    Irish blood, English heart, this I’m made of
    There is no-one on earth I’m afraid of
    And no regime can buy or sell me

    I’ve been dreaming of a time when
    To be English is not to be baneful
    To be standing by the flag not feeling
    Shameful, racist or partial

    Irish blood, English heart, this I’m made of
    There is no-one on earth I’m afraid of
    And I will die with both my hands untied

    I’ve been dreaming of a time when
    The English are sick to death of Labour
    And Tories, and spit upon the name of Oliver Cromwell
    And denounce this royal line that still salute him
    And will salute him forever

  65. Boyo — on 2nd December, 2007 at 8:47 am  

    But let’s not let this kind of thing get in the way of an opportunity to smear, shall we.

  66. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2007 at 11:26 am  

    Can you believe Tempura was introduced into Japan by the Portuguese, who are quasi-Spic, so we take the credit for that too.

    Another interesting Japanese import from the Portuguese is the Kustera cakes (Castella), which sounds spic all over, El Cid. :)

    Asian rut: Asian kid gets bullied, has to fight back

    Not only that, he does seem to be on the side of the Asian boy when he sings “Oh, English boys, It must be wrong, Three against one ?”.

  67. El Cid — on 2nd December, 2007 at 11:54 am  

    The Spanish/Portuguese also influenced West Indian and Creole cuisine. Salt fish, gumbo, even the magnificent Jaimaican patty looks suspiciously familiar.
    I could say the Cornish pasty is the product of shipwrecked sailors from the Spanish Armada, but I’d be making that up.

    Memo to self, seek out and buy glossy coffee table book on the history of food.
    Can you imagine European cuisine before Marco Polo brought back noodles from China? Or before the Arabs and Chinese gave Europe ice cream (not sure snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in ancient Athens count as ice cream)? Rice also came to Europe from Asia via the Arabs? And what about before Columbus and co brought back potatoes and tomatoes?
    I love this kind of stuff.

  68. Ravi Naik — on 2nd December, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

    Can you imagine European cuisine before Marco Polo brought back noodles from China? Or before the Arabs and Chinese gave Europe ice cream (not sure snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in ancient Athens count as ice cream)? Rice also came to Europe from Asia via the Arabs? And what about before Columbus and co brought back potatoes and tomatoes?

    Not to mention spices from India! :)

  69. Don — on 2nd December, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

    kecap (fish sauce) was brought back from S.E asia by English and Dutch sailors and various additions such as mushrooms and ancovies were tried out. Ketchup as a ‘high East-Indian sauce is mentioned in 1690. Tomato first appears in 1801.

  70. El Cid — on 2nd December, 2007 at 12:35 pm  

    Ravi, re spices this is a surprisingly good read:
    http://www.mccormick.com/content.cfm?ID=10109

    The history of food = history of trade and cultural fusion, without the political fallout.

  71. soru — on 2nd December, 2007 at 1:14 pm  

    I’m not sure if you’re insulting me here or not… so I’ll refrain from building an effigy of you and burning it..

    I suspect your attempts to burn me in effigy will be hampered by the fact you don’t know what I look like.

    I was kind of insulting you a bit, or at least your ideas. If you didn’t mean what you said, then I suppose I was insulting the sloppy way you phrased whatever it was you were trying to say…

    There is a lot of history bound up in the idea of pointing at a group of people and saying they have no meaningful culture. Much of that history is the interesting kind, where grisly stuff happens.

  72. El Cid — on 2nd December, 2007 at 3:18 pm  

    Sunny, I couldn’t help notice that the average comment count has gone down in recent months. Is that a direct result of deletions or something deeper?
    How’s the general traffic data these days?
    Would you say the overall quality of debate has improved?

    And talking of simple rigid boxes, what’s your definition of race? You seemed to imply that it was simply a matter of colour and yet seem happy to leave that thread hanging. Maybe you should just delete #8 and be done.

  73. halima — on 2nd December, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

    race is an invented catogory so anyone can have free definition as they like – and so can Sunny.

    There’s no such thing as ‘race’.

  74. Boyo — on 2nd December, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

    Sunny once belittled me for defending the concept that there was such a thing as a white British race, yet in this thread he claims white is a race. Just so long as you’re not British I suppose. Or is it ok if you’re English? Anyway, elsewhere he has claimed Islamophobia is racist, regardless of the fact that you can be Islamic, or an Islamist, regardless of your race.

    Sunny’s attitude to race embodies the muddle of the bourgeois left.

  75. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    Sunny’s attitude to race embodies the muddle of the bourgeois left.

    Once I finish my champagne and caviar, and stop mulling around in my sandals, and finish the muesli, I shall respond to this silly attempt at trying to make an argument but dressing it up as character assassination.

  76. Don — on 2nd December, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    A muddled attitude to the definition of race? I think that is more widespread than the bourgeois left.

    At least I hope so, I get uncomfortable when someone arrives at a pin-sharp definition. They generally turn out to have a lay-man’s interest in genetics.

  77. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

    How’s the general traffic data these days?
    Would you say the overall quality of debate has improved?

    I’ve always preferred quality over quantity. The numbers are fine, I’m just assuming the trolls have stopped bothering. Certainly, Morgoth can’t be asked as much.

  78. Jai — on 2nd December, 2007 at 6:03 pm  

    You seemed to imply that it was simply a matter of colour and yet seem happy to leave that thread hanging.

    As far as I know, “race” (quotation marks used deliberately) is about facial features as much as it is to do with skin colour.

    i thought indians were caucasian too

    The population of the Indian subcontinent as a whole can probably most accurately be termed “mixed race”. However, some individuals, groups and families are obviously more (or less) mixed-race than others.

    I guess the closest analogy is people of Latin American ancestry. They can all loosely be termed “Hispanic”, but you obviously get a lot of ethnic variation internally. The same principle applies to Indians/Asians.

  79. Jai — on 2nd December, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    Formatting corrected:

    You seemed to imply that it was simply a matter of colour and yet seem happy to leave that thread hanging.

    As far as I know, “race” (quotation marks used deliberately) is about facial features as much as it is to do with skin colour.

    i thought indians were caucasian too

    The population of the Indian subcontinent as a whole can probably most accurately be termed “mixed-race”. However, some individuals, groups and families are obviously more (or less) mixed-race than others.

    I guess the closest analogy is people of Latin American ancestry. They can all loosely be termed “Hispanic”, but you obviously get a lot of ethnic variation internally. The same principle applies to Indians/Asians.

  80. Muhamad — on 2nd December, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    Well put Don. I don’t mind layman showing an interest in science, it’s a good thing, but I get irked by those who talk about Muslim or Jewish DNA.
    Genetically, Africa is said to be the most diverse place but all we do is look at the melanin content of their skin!

  81. Boyo — on 2nd December, 2007 at 6:55 pm  

    “I shall respond to this silly attempt at trying to make an argument but dressing it up as character assassination.”

    Pot, kettle… oh never mind. I look forward to it.

  82. Morgoth — on 2nd December, 2007 at 7:05 pm  

    Certainly, Morgoth can’t be asked as much.

    You misspelt “arsed”.

  83. marvin — on 2nd December, 2007 at 7:44 pm  

    That also annoys me too when people think the saying is “asked” when it is actually “arsed”.

  84. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

    I think ‘asked’ is for the more genteel. I prefer it.

  85. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 12:14 am  

    i think morgoth at no 6 says it all. and i like el cid’s at no.8., and good points in no. 11.

  86. andrewb4u — on 3rd December, 2007 at 12:57 pm  

    I do not think for one minute that what Morrissey said was anti anyone. I feel he has said what even David Cameron is saying to the Labour Government and that is we’ve let too many people into our country too quickly thus putting a burdon on everyone from infrastructure to jobs and rates of pay. Too many people are too quick to shout the racist word as poor old Enoch Powell found out.

    British culture to me is one of taking it up the bum and saying thank you.
    We are also a rare bread as we wait our turn. Try getting on a tram anywhere else in Europe and see if the queue moves in an orderly fashion.

  87. rupahuq — on 3rd December, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

    I get the feeling that lots of the commenters haven’t read the interview. I did and it made me reconsider what I blogged earlier.

    http://rupahuq.wordpress.com/2007/11/28/another-immigration-row/

    which is critical then

    http://rupahuq.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/morrissey-he-speaks-he-sues-and-if-he-seems-little-dotty-thats-because-he-is/

    after I found policy positions in it many good lefties could agree with.

  88. Sid — on 3rd December, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

    Oh the National!

  89. Sid — on 3rd December, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    Nice comment rupa. There are some serious Bengali fans of the great man on this thread. Torn between Viva Hate and Viva Love of Mozza, we’re all Bengalis in platforms. This is a good thing. :-)

  90. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 5:17 pm  

    i think what clairwil said about this, and on liberal conspiracy makes good sense to me.

  91. Refresh — on 3rd December, 2007 at 5:28 pm  

    Rupa, like the latter blog. I am even considering becoming a Morrissey listener – only because of the lyrics. Obviously has a lot more to say than most.

    Disappointed to see you set store by Harold Wilson’s quote Tony Benn “immatures with age”. I liked Harold a lot. It was he that got me interested in politics – and it was Tony Benn that for me, kept hope alive.

    All the other politicians you mention are like ships in the night.

  92. Refresh — on 3rd December, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

    Oh and it was Harold Wilson that kept us out of Vietnam, something he’s never really credited for.

  93. El Cid — on 3rd December, 2007 at 8:51 pm  

    andrewb4u,
    what are you on about? queues?
    try getting out of tunbridge wells once in a while.
    have you tried the dog eat dog world of London’s overused tube system lately?
    also, taking it up the gary might be part of your british identity, but it ain’t mine.

  94. David T — on 3rd December, 2007 at 11:08 pm  

    Fish and Chips seem to be a staple of Moroccan roadside snacks.

    ANYHOW…

    Forgive me for posting my blog entry here…

    When Morrissey sang:

    ‘I’ve been dreaming of a time when
    To be English is not to be baneful
    To be standing by the flag not feeling shameful,
    Racist or partial’

    in a ditty entitled Irish Blood, English Heart, he was enthusing about a Britain in which ones “blood” didn’t matter at all. What counts, rather, is where one’s affections lie.

    My parents came to this country, and settled here, because they very much wanted to be part of it. The overwhelming majority of people who come to this country, and their children, feel the same way. We chose to live here, in a country with a rich culture and an inspiring history which tells the story of a people gradually chipping away at privilege and supersition, to create a strong liberal democracy which values freedom and human rights. That is one of the reasons we came here after all.

    What astonishes most of us immigrants, is the way that a sliver of liberal opinion appears to regard “Englishness” with suspicion or scorn.

    While we are standing by the flag, feeling appropriately proud, we’re told by some particularly smug British bastards that we ought to be feeling shameful, partial, and – if we are white – racist.

    And if we’re not white: well then we’re Uncle Toms.

    I work in an office which is particulary multi-”racial”. My British-born colleagues, irrespective of the proportion of melanin in their skins, are all palpably British. We share common cultural reference points and talk with regional British accents. One of my colleagues, who comes from Singapore, has a knowlege of English literature which shames me. The children of those who were not born here, will all be British if they are brought up here, because they will engage in, and form part of, the common culture which defines this nation.

    Here’s a story from a friend of mine:

    Great moments in integration from the Great British Melting Pot #234

    Woolies Toy Dept, this afternoon.

    LITTLE POLISH BOY, tugging at mother’s arm: “Polishword polishword polishword Dalek polishword polishword polishword Tardis polishword polishword Doctor polishword polishword polishword Cyberman.”

    POLISH MUM: “?????????”

    There are certainly legitimate debates to be had about how to tackle ghettoisation, of the capacity of our infrastructure to deal with new arrivals, and the best way to promote integration and social cohesion. In particular, there’s a serious discussion to be had about how we can encourage confidence and pride in our cultural and political heritage.

    But, it doesn’t help when, as the same friend put, the NME conducts itself like Rik from the Young Ones, and Morrissey behaves, as usual, like an unreasonable martinet.

  95. David T — on 3rd December, 2007 at 11:09 pm  

    The other thing which struck me as odd are the emails from Tim Jonze, which Morrissey’s manager has reposted:

    “Hi Merck,
    Hope you’re well. I should mention that for reasons I’ll probably never understand, NME have rewritten the Moz piece. I had a read and virtually none of it is my words or beliefs so I’ve asked for my name to be taken off it. Just so you know when you read it.
    Best,
    Tim”

    He then followed up with another email in which he said:

    From: Tim Jonze
    Date: October 26, 2007 6:57:55 AM PDT
    To: Merck Mercuriadis
    Subject: Moz shows

    Hi Merck,

    Was great to meet you yesterday. Interview was really good, I was surprised how open and charming and humble Moz was. I’m sure you could tell I was quite nervous, I’m a big fan. Anyway, you said that you might have some guest list spare for tonight. So I was wondering if I could get these on to the list for Friday (tonight), in order of importance..

    Tim x

    This is a man who had just been subjected to what he now characterises as a “Morrissey rant about UK immigration policy, a series of ignorant, racially inflamatory statements (based on no factual evidence)” in the “language of the BNP and Enoch Powell” who was planning to write a “piece [which] was very critical” and who was so disappointed when the “NME decided to tone it down”, that he insisted on having his name taken off the piece.

    He then wrote a letter to Morrissey’s manager gushing about Morrissey’s charm and humility, followed by an apologetic letter to Morrissey’s manager, that he now says was an expression of frustration at NME’s refusal to allow him to denounce Morrissey as a racist. Because, obviously, you’d write to a racist’s manager expressing your exasperation at being censored.

    This just sounds odd to me.

  96. Sid — on 4th December, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    Morrissey responds.
    And how.
    Take that you vile bandwagon jumpers!

  97. Leon — on 4th December, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

    Heh yeah I read that…

  98. andrewb4u — on 5th December, 2007 at 6:33 pm  

    el cid

    London is full of foreigners so my point holds.

    And tell me what action you’re taking when the Government reams you daily?

  99. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2007 at 11:42 am  

    How can we live in a world where Mozza is vilified yet I have to fucking wake up to James Blunt?

    I squarely blame every spunk guzzler that hates Morrissey for this

  100. rupahuq — on 12th December, 2007 at 10:20 pm  

    Dunno if anyone is still reading this thread and it blatantly looks like showing off but I have “come out” as a Bengali in Platforms rushing to Morrisey’s defence. New Statesman readers don’t seem as forthright on this as Pickled Politics ones, nevertheless it’s here: http://www.newstatesman.com/200712100009

  101. Sid — on 13th December, 2007 at 12:53 am  

    Nice post rupa, but Bengali in Platforms wasn’t racist in the least. It was sympathetic of fresh-off-the-boaties like myself.

    Kismet: Blunt is the nadir of 60 years of English pop music.

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