BBC risks own goal over Lineker scandal
tHe arrangement is meant to be straightforward. the BBc receives £3.7billion a year from the licence fee and, in return, it is obliged by charter to be scrupulously neutral.
However, the question of who calls the shots when it comes to the state broadcaster’s impartiality rules is today under the sharpest scrutiny. is it the corporation’s bosses – or the highly paid and self-regarding celebrities they employ?
the issue has been thrust into the spotlight by football pundit Gary Lineker’s grotesque intervention in the small-boats debate. in a tweet, the Match of the Day host turned tedious virtue-signaller drew a parallel between Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s crackdown on illegal immigration and Nazi Germany.
it’s difficult to think of a more ignorant, preposterous and offensive comparison.
Hitler’s evil regime exterminated six million Jews. Here in Britain, the democratically elected Government is trying to save lives by ending perilous channel crossings by illegal migrants.
this is, of course, a legitimate – indeed, compassionate – policy supported by a large majority of the public. By effectively equating them with fascists, the exfootballer insults the very people who pay his bloated £1.35million annual salary.
When he condemns critics of his fatuous remarks as attacking his freedom of speech, he is deliberately missing the point.
using his privileged platform to express his political opinions drives a coach and horses through editorial guidelines introduced to restore battered trust in the corporation’s impartiality.
true, he’s a freelancer, not staff. But as one of the faces of the BBc, it’s important that he should abide by the rules.
Lineker has a record for making gratuitous anti-tory jibes. indeed, in October he was reprimanded by the corporation.
But he clearly thinks his fame makes him untouchable. By flagrantly championing the liberal-Left, this sanctimonious poser is daring chiefs to sack him.
they should call his bluff. Has his presence in the Match of the Day studio ever added a single viewer? countless other presenters can string together football highlights.
if Lineker is let off with a slap on the wrist, BBc director-general tim Davie will score an own goal. it would send the message he doesn’t care about fairness and balance.