Saturday, April 20, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsLineker: Too big for the BBC to cancel

Lineker: Too big for the BBC to cancel


WELL, that went well. That really could not have gone any better. The BBC and the Tory boys such as Richard Sharp (the BBC’s chairman with links to the Conservative Party) at the top of the BBC really showed Gary Lineker who is in charge. They showed him who was the boss – turns out it was not the actual boss. 

As Mail Online explains

‘Gary Lineker was today begged by the BBC to return to hosting Match of the Day with no further punishment – or new bars on his tweeting – after bosses backed down over his anti-Tory posts and even offered him an apology for the fiasco.

‘In an extraordinary capitulation just 72 hours after taking him off air, Director General Tim Davie said sorry and agreed a peace deal with the footballer turned broadcaster, 62, who will now present FA Cup quarter-final coverage this weekend.

MailOnline understands that those who walked out in support of the MotD host, including Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Mark Chapman, will also face no action from BBC bosses, with Lineker thanking them for their “remarkable show of solidarity”.

‘It marks a huge victory for the former England captain, the corporation’s highest-paid star on £1.35million a year, over the BBC in a crisis sparked by his tweets likening the Government’s crackdown on migrants in small boats to 1930s Nazi Germany.  

‘Mr Davie, who is facing calls to resign over the debacle, has insisted he did “the right thing” in asking Lineker to “step aside” but admitted he had taken stock over the weekend and invited the star to return to work, blaming “confusion” and “grey areas” in the BBC’s social media guidance, which will now be reviewed.’ 

Safe to say that the BBC got trashed on this one. This is what happens when despite 12 years of Tory rule we still have the BBC licence fee. This is what happens if you continue to pay Lineker a salary of £1.35million to talk about a football game that people have already seen with their own eyes. It seems that Gary Lineker was too big to cancel. It’s all quite ironic as in September 2020, appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Davie justified Gary Lineker’s salary saying it was worth it because of the value of analysis to the viewing audience.

This outcome means that not only has the Director General surrendered all authority when it comes to enforcing rules on social media posts and impartiality but happily for the rest of us Lineker can devote more time to his dispute with the taxman over £5million (a sum that could go some way to serving the needs of the refugees he likes to tweet about). When Lineker is not talking about the offside rule or indeed disputing his tax bill, he can now continue to tweet his luxury opinions about the government’s immigration policy. 

What this calamity demonstrates is that first, only left-wing people get to cancel people for having the wrong views and secondly, it does not really matter how many slightly right-wing people you might have at the very top of an organisation, if you are institutionally left-wing, as the BBC is, then left-wing biases and opinion will seep through. For the BBC, this left-wing biases seeps into all its programming, from the news items, to sport, its children’s programming, and the Twitter feeds of those who make all those programmes. 

Some in the Tory party such as Philip Davies MP are spinning this total defeat as fatal for the licence: ‘This pathetic capitulation by the BBC is the start of the end for the licence fee. The BBC can no longer credibly claim that it believes in political impartiality and – more importantly – it has proved that it doesn’t have the stomach to enforce it.’ How deluded can you be? The Tory party has been in charge for 12 years and has failed to remove the licence fee, so this humiliating climb down is hardly going to start the ball rolling. 

Lineker, meanwhile, is doing his victory lap saying he ‘cannot wait’ to be back on the BBC at the weekend. He was defiant in the face of criticism, suggesting some of his detractors are intolerant. Evidence of just how deluded and out of touch the man is can be seen from this tweet: ‘However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heart-warming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you. We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you.’

Who exactly would ever think of comparing a Twitter row to fleeing one’s home due to war and persecution? He seemed to have dreamt that comparison up in the latest attempt to signal his virtue. 

Yet again the Tory party have surrendered the moral high ground on the important issue of immigration control. I am just not sure how you lose on that issue to a multi-millionaire footballer in a tax dispute with HMRC. But if anyone can, the Tories can. 

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