A Statement from Love Music Hate Racism

The interview that NME published with Morrissey last week has provoked a huge debate. LMHR is unable to comment specifically on matters which are currently the subject of legal proceedings. However, we did want to make some general comments at this stage about what’s taken place.

LMHR would like to reiterate and underline the fantastic and invaluable contribution that NME and it’s staff have made this year to the anti-racist cause and to LMHR in particular.

Their backing has hugely raised the profile of LMHR and the anti- racist movement in general. To date, in addition to 140,000 CD’s mounted on the NME’s cover on October 19th, around 450,000 of the NME/LMHR/NUT CD sleeves have been distributed across the UK in school, colleges, youth networks, at gigs and in workplaces. There has been a significant increase in the number of people actively involved in the campaign and in putting on LMHR shows all over the country. The Paddingtons and others’ excellent letter announcing the formation of Hull LMHR which appeared in the same issue of NME as the Morrissey interview - and which has received no media attention whatsoever - is a great example. The NME’s editor, Conor McNicholas, has gone further than any other national media figure in backing the campaign, particularly - in article after article - refusing to be squeamish about calling the British National Party (BNP) a fascist organisation which should have no part in a democratic society.

NME’s vocal support for LMHR has also provoked a very useful debate via it’s letters page and in the wider media on both organised racism as well as the wider racist ideas on which the likes of the BNP feed.

We are proud for our campaign to be associated with the NME and want to continue working together with them.

Morrissey’s publicly stated commitment to anti-racism, and his offer of practical support to the LMHR campaign should be welcomed by everyone. LMHR is about fighting for an anti racist culture in music. We want every artist and musician to back the campaign, and to join us in fighting back against the rise of the fascist BNP against mainstream politicians playing the race card, and for the human rights of everyone to not face discrimination or attack on the basis of skin colour, race or religion.

We do not ask for people to have a particular position on immigration in order to accept their support for LMHR.
There are a range of positions that people can take on this question, from a belief that all immigration controls should be scrapped to the idea that the UK’s borders should be closed completely. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher said that “people rather fear being swamped by an alien culture”, and this remains the tone of much of what passes for “debate” in Britain today around the question of immigration. Loaded terms like ‘flood’, ‘influx’ and so on, are the norm. The anti-migrant press never talk about the large number of people leaving the UK, and rarely about the demographic time bomb in which falling birth rates and an ageing population mean that immigration is vital to the UK economy. Much less do the same commentators tell the British public that based on the last official figures available migrants actually contribute net benefit of 2% to the UK’s GDP - rather than being a drain on resources and services as we’re constantly told. Last year, asylum applications fell by 8% to just over 23,000. The same year over 73% of refugee applications were refused by the government. Thousands of genuine refugees are locked up in government detention centres. The ‘debate’ around immigration is not conducted in a vacuum, but in an atmosphere bordering on hysteria with racist assumptions and overtones. We very rarely hear scare stories about white American/Australian/South African/Northern or Western European immigrants to the UK for example.

There is also a common, and racist, idea that other ‘cultures’, particularly at the moment ‘Islamic culture’ represent a threat to ‘British culture’ or ‘the British way of life’. Such ideas are a nonsense. Even forty years ago, the idea of a single identifiable ‘British culture’ was questionable to say the least. Britain, like every other country, was and remains culturally divided along lines of class, race, gender and in many other ways. What we do have is a multicultural society and we believe that this sort of society enriches life for everybody who lives in it. This sort of society has not arrived completely by accident - people have argued and fought for it over decades. We need to continue to defend and extend our multicultural society, to unite to expose and take on the racists and fascists. Multiculturalism is inherent in music and so we believe that music plays a fantastic role in the anti racist struggle. We welcome working with everyone who agrees with this.