I'm a radical pluralist. In politics as in music, I believe that there has to be a wide spectrum of differing opinions. In time the conventional media will become more like the Internet, where eveybody can find every point of view somewhere. Nobody will be excluded, not even the people who don't believe in pluralism. For the time being, though, the media are still broadcasting narrowminded rather than narrowcasting broadminded.
Hidden in my song 'Violets' (add up the first letters of flowers and muscial instruments in each verse!) is the message that the IRA should be given their own TV station. Bombs are the last resort for a group of people denied the right to be heard. Bombs are a clumsy way of getting publicity.
The IRA have now stopped bombing and can be heard, through Gerry Adams, on TV. I think most people agree this is better than guerilla war.
In 1994 Morrissey dared to state, in Select magazine, that he thought the British National Party should be heard on television. That they might then be less likely to hit people with bricks. The NME took this opportunity to ban Morrissey from its pages (a face-saving manouevre, since he was refusing to speak to them at the time anyway).
I was outraged and wrote the following letter, which they ran under the heading 'A (Minor) Pop Star Writes':
'So with Steve Sutherland's 'Goodbye to Morrissey' NME has come down on the side of overt political censorship. Can we now expect future references to Morrissey to be prefaced 'Because of editorial restrictions we are unable to let you hear the voice of Morrissey, whose words will be spoken by an actor'? And what exactly is the man's crime? He has defended the basic democratic principle of free speech, not just for the people we approve of, but for everyone.
Steve Sutherland says we must wait for an ideal world in which everybody is sweet and serene before allowing free speech. If free speech means anything, it means airing the dirty chaos of angry and contending views we have right now. In a country like ours where there is no constitution, let alone a First Amendment, Morrissey's statement that we must listen to each other is, believe it or not, a crucial step towards a truly tolerant, multi-cultural Britain.
By all means, Steve, fill your paper with unsparkling, unambivalent people whose first reaction is to call for this or that minority group to be 'smashed' or 'gagged' so that we don't have to listen to their views. But realise that by so doing it is you and not the BNP which is proposing a monolithic society of mob rule.
The NME replied:
'First impressions suggest that Nick Currie (for it is he) is leaping to the defence of Moz in a lame attempt at catching a place in the spotlight of controversy. To suggest that Morrissey's opinions can somehow contribute to a better world for us all is absurd. Any fool knows that Morrissey is just toying with the bootboy image as a sad and insecure means of maintaining the public's interest. He's welcome to exercise his democratic right by continuing to do that in lesser publications, without the merest hint of recrimination. What we requested was an interview, during which we could question him about his ambiguous statements regarding the BNP, and he refused. So, if he doesn't want to play on a level playing field he's better left alone.
Iestyn George, NME'