Anthony McIntyre ☠ Events as Harold McMillan once said. They can disrupt or upend everything.
For years people have complained about the volume of Tory ideology running through the veins of the BBC without much success in being able to push back or ignite public concern.
In the end the political hot potato was brought to the boil not by the legions of BBC political correspondents or expert analysts but by a sports presenter expressing his personal view on his own Twitter page. It resulted in an eruption of public anger that made the BBC look like the PR agency for the Bullingdon Club. The artificial tide of impartiality has gone out, leaving the politically partisan shill house without a vestige of cover.
It was less what Lineker said that caused the stir but the decision by the Tories at the BBC to suspend him from presenting Match Of The Day, to which he will now return, leaving the British Bullingdon Cartel to lick both its wounds and the egg splattered all over its face. The huge outcry combined with the solidarity of his fellow presenters had the effect of a stun grenade lobbed into the middle of the highbrow low life.
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman, forever eager to grease the pole that helped her climb so that no one else could avail of it, announced her plan to stop migrants crossing the English Channel. Lineker’s terse observation on Twitter was “Good heavens, this is beyond awful’
Somebody joined in to criticise him, accusing him of being “out of order . . . easy to pontificate when it doesn’t affect you”.
Lineker pushed back:
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?
And for that he was forced off the air.
The sheer bias in the decision to make him walk the plank was identified by Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol:
But a lot of people are looking at this and saying, how come Andrew Neal, one of the most high profile political journalists and interviewers on the BBC for many, many years, how come he is allowed to be the chairman of a right wing magazine, The Spectator?
How come he is allowed to express political opinions on Twitter as much as he wants?
How come the Chairman of the BBC, Richard Sharp, the Chairman is somebody who donated £400,000 to the Conservative Party, someone who has helped arrange an £800,000 loan for the former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
How come Robbie Gibb, or as we have to call him, Sir Robbie Gibb, who used to be the Communications Director for the former Prime Minister, Theresa May, how come he’s on the BBC board at the moment?
Why is Alan Sugar allowed to say what he wants on Twitter about political matters? What about Jeremy Clarkson? He’s got a column in The Sun, he’s got a column in the Sunday Times. He was on the BBC. He frequently expressed political opinions, which many people think are extreme on social media.
And why is the Director General of the BBC, Tim Davy? The Director General? He used to be the Deputy Chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party. He’s a man who’s stood as a candidate in local elections for the Conservative Party.
So why is all this allowed? Yet Gary Lineker is not allowed to make a fairly innocuous comment, which many, many people would agree with about a policy that has been condemned by the United Nations and also by many human rights groups. And this is the same Gary Lineker who’s been allowed on the BBC to criticise the human rights record of Qatar.
Why is he not allowed to criticise the human rights record of the country he lives in?
As clean a knock out punch in the political ring as we are likely to see from any sports commentator for years to come.