The Gary Lineker issue looked to be a rather crude attempt by the Tory government to silence a critic of their hugely controversial refugee strategy.
There are echoes of the 1930s in that policy – the use of large internment camps, deportation, and in the inflammatory rhetoric of Suella Braverman as she attempted to justify her mismanagement of the migrant issue.
She used inaccurate, inflammatory and misleading statements to justify her heavy handed treatment of the migrants arriving in small boats. She claimed:
“There are 100 million people around the world who could qualify for protection under our current laws. Let’s be clear. They are coming here”
Let’s be clear – they are not! Most displaced refugees stay in their own country! An expert on immigration described the Home Secretary’s inflammatory words as “complete codswallop” and was horrified to hear “such inflammatory, scaremongering rhetoric“.
Regrettably we are stuck with an under qualified, second rate politician as Home Secretary who has been over-promoted through the turmoil within the Tory government, with three prime ministers in seven weeks. She was actually sacked once by one of these. Even Braverman admits she may break the Human Rights Act by failing to comply the European Convention on Human Rights with her latest proposals.
The Gary Lineker issue is being used as a distraction from all this. But is the Tory government attempting to impose a ‘Cancel Culture’ on the BBC?
What is infuriating many people is the way that Lineker has been singled out for his compassion by the Tory appointees in the BBC like Richard Sharp, the BBC Chairman and Tim Davie BBC Director-General. Lineker has been told :
“… that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”
This is total hypocrisy and double standards. Andrew Neil, whilst fronting a BBC politics show, was also chair of a right wing magazine, the Spectator. Neil, like Lineker, was a prolific user of Twitter and regularly tweeted on subjects from the SNP to Climate Change, to Brexit. Despite the significant controversy over stories in the Spectator on religion and race, there were no complaints from Tory Ministers or MPs. Andrew Neil kept his prominent position within the BBC.
The hypocrisy and double standards go right to the top. BBC Chairman Richard Sharp was appointed by Boris Johnson despite Mr Sharp having donated £400,000 to the Conservative Party before being appointed.
Subsequently a cross-party committee of MPs found Mr Sharp had “… breached standards” by failing to mention on his application that he had helped facilitate a £800,000 loan guarantee for Boris Johnson. BBC Director General Tim Davie is a former Tory councillor.
The Gary Lineker affair was the first test of Richard Sharp as Chairman of the Independent BBC. He immediately showed his true colours by crumpling under pressure and swiftly acquiescing to Lineker’s suspension.
Impartiality matters in political journalism, but in football pundits is markedly less significant…..Surely much more important is that it is essential that the Chairman and Director-General are seen to be impartial with no links to any political party or figures….
Having a former Tory councillor as BBC Director-General in Tim Davie and one of Boris Johnson’s cronies, Richard Sharp, as BBC Chairman has been brought sharply into focus by the reaction to Gary Lineker’s twitter comment. The unwise over-reaction by the two men has revealed the way the right wing Tories have sought to infiltrate the BBC which according to its charter is supposedly an independent body.
So we have two Tory stooges at the helm of the BBC. Another aspect of Boris Johnson’s toxic legacy.
Tory reaction to Gary Lineker’s tweet and the public backlash shows how totally out of touch the Tories in Westminster are and suggests that they are really intent on ensuring that after the next general election all their MPs can arrive at Parliament in a single black cab!