The term is "personal code of ethics". If he had said ethical I would have understood his statement. It's great that The Smiths don't want to tarnish their image by reforming in an obvious grab for money, even though I don't think the fans would mind. I also don't think it is their concern about preserving the image that keeps them form reforming. I think it's a deep bitterness brought on by lawsuits but even more so by unresolved personal issues within the group.
Maybe, as was suggested the other day, the band will reform in some way to remind everyone of their recorded legacy.