Liverpool’s Merseyrail transport network has taken the decision to ban all posters promoting former Smiths frontman Morrissey amid his controversial political stance.
Imagery began to appear around the city as Morrissey promotes his new album, California Son, which was released today. However, a complaint from Jack Dotchin, a resident from Toxteth, has resulted in the removal of all Morrissey posters.
Dotchin told the Liverpool Echo that Morrissey’s political stance and opinion “offend me and a lot of other people. He’s very far right these days, going on about immigrants and being pseudo-racist. It’s just strange to think Merseyrail, being a public service for the people, is advertising someone with his views.”
According to the Guardian, Merseyrail responded to the complaint by removing Morrissey’s posters, citing that “any potentially contentious material” needed to be taken down. In a statement, the rail network said: Processes are in place for Merseyrail to approve any potentially contentious material prior to it appearing on the network, however due to the nature of this advertisement it did not reach a level of verification.”
They added: “Merseyrail will work [with] the third-party supplier to improve this process in the future. Any content used within advertising on the Merseyrail network does not reflect the organisation’s values, and we apologise for any offence the publication of these posters may have caused.”
Only yesterday it was reported that Spillers, the worlds oldest record store, had banned the sale of Morrissey records due to his public support of far-right political movement ‘For Britain’.
The ‘For Britain Movement’ is a political group—often described as extremist—founded by the anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters after she was defeated in the 2017 UKIP leadership.
Morrissey had initially voiced his support of For Britain in an interview, saying: “For Britain has received no media support and have even been dismissed with the usual childish ‘racist’ accusation…I don’t think the word ‘racist’ has any meaning any more, other than to say ‘you don’t agree with me, so you’re a racist.’ People can be utterly, utterly stupid.”
What has ensued has been a very public backing of the movement from the former Smiths frontman, which has included some high profile controversial comments and, twice in recent weeks, Morrissey has been spotted wearing a For Britain badge, most prominently during a performance on Jimmy Fallon’s major American TV show.
For Britain has been largely labeled as dangerous members of the political spectrum, Morrissey’s decision to support them has been heavily criticised by Journalist and ex-friend of Morrissey Dave Haslam: “My former friend sporting a For Britain badge, a party violently anti-Islam, filled with ex-BNP and ex-EDL, pro-privatisation, far right and prone to exploiting tragedies to disseminate divisive anti-immigrant rhetoric online, what happened to ‘It takes guts to be gentle and kind’?” Haslam reacted.
The news comes as little surprise given that Morrissey, in the recent past, has defended the likes of Tommy Robinson, suggested that Hitler was left-wing and hit out at London mayor Sadiq Kahn in a slur about his speech.
Most recently, Morrissey has been thanked by For Britain leader Anne Marie Waters, thanking him and the Daily Mail for their support: “Thank you so much for your support since the UKIP leadership election,” Waters said in a new YouTube video. “Thank you for giving us so much publicity.”
Perhaps more concerning, Waters went on to suggest that the popularity of the political movement has grown substantially since Morrissey’s show of support: “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,” she added.
Signing off her YouTube video, Waters thanked both Morrissey and the Daily Mail for spreading the word about For Britain: “Thank you, Morrissey. I hope to meet you one day,” said Waters. “Thank you, Daily Mail. Keep up the hysterical smearing. It’s having the opposite effect. You are driving people to us.”