Most people (in the UK) will be aware of the furore this week over a tweet made by Gary Lineker in relation to the government’s proposed bill concerning asylum seekers. This is what he said:
There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?Gary Lineker tweet
You will note that he did not use the words ‘Nazi’ or ‘Holocaust’. He simply referred to pre-war Germany and the language and behaviour prevalent at the time. It was Suella Braverman – one of the architects and supporters of this right-wing nonsense – who brought the Holocaust up.
Lineker himself has previously taken in two refugees, both of which remained with him for a short time before moving on to the next stage of their time in the UK (one of them went to university, and the other was completing a Law course).
However, the right-wing bigots who oppose immigration don’t have a clue what the process involves, and believe that every immigrant gets put up in a 4-star hotel for years. The are against anyone with darker skin (even those who are 3rd or 4th generation British).
Now, Lineker presents Match of the Day (MOTD) on the BBC, and the BBC has to remain impartial on political matters. Our level of Wokery in the UK is currently about 6 on the Richter Scale, and people are out looking for trouble all the time. The government wants to defund the BBC, and all the right-wing bigots want that, too. So it is understandable that the BBC should feel nervous when any of its presenters airs their own views, and hardly surprising when the likes of Braverman attempt to use it for their own right-wing political ends, whilst decrying the politics originally expressed.
Lineker is not a BBC employee. He is a freelancer. And he did not make his comments using any BBC platform. So all the BBC has to do is say: ‘Gary Lineker’s views are his own, and do not represent those of the BBC in any way.’ Or words to that effect, anyway. But instead, he is currently not going to be presenting MOTD. And in a follow up story, Ian Wright – one of Lineker’s co-presenters – has announced he will not appear on MOTD tomorrow as a show of solidarity with Lineker.
The simple fact is that Lineker was right. This government is frantically trying to recover the 20+ percentage gap between itself and Labour in the voting intention polls. And it is doing it by trying to appease all the bigots this country sadly is home to.
Update: Alan Shearer is also out in solidarity:
And now Micah Richards (though he wasn’t scheduled):