So… anything much been going on?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but feel that if our benighted “government” were to put half as much effort into un-screwing up our
unquestionably screwed-up country as they’re currently putting into trying to prevent people who’ve noticed how screwed up the country is from saying
the country is screwed up, the country might in fact become somewhat less
screwed up and there would, consequently, be rather fewer people trying to point out how screwed up the country is. But where’s the fun in that?
Now, you’re all switched-on types – this is the New European, after all, not the Telegraph – so unless you’ve literally just emerged from a two-week coma I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how this has been manifesting itself over the last few days, but there’s kind of no other way into this, so let’s blast through it in 50 words or less:
Gary Lineker tweets that immigration policy is all a bit ’30s Germany; huge fake outragegasm throughout Tory party and client media; BBC suspends GL from Match of the Day; literally every other BBC sports presenter comes out on GL’s side and refuses to cover for him; BBC Saturday schedule plunged into chaos.
Forty-nine words; not bad, even if I did have to invent the word “outragegasm”.
So, could the BBC have played this any worse? Well possibly, but only if the DG – former chairman of Hammersmith & Fulham Conservative Party Tim Davie – had given a press statement during which he’d soiled his pants and set fire to himself.
If only because, since all this dirty linen has been so publicly washed, everyone now KNOWS that the director general of the BBC is the former chair of the H&F Conservatives, AND that the current (at the time of writing) BBC chairman Richard Sharp is a massive Tory donor and got the job (entirely coincidentally) just after sorting out an £800k loan for Boris Johnson, AND that BBC board member Robbie Gibb – a name that until last week would have had most people wondering if that was the bald Bee Gee or the one with no beard – was Conservative PM Theresa May’s communications director.
As such, even those who spend most of their time fulminating about the BBC’s “woke agenda” are starting to wonder if the BBC’s idea of “impartiality” is anything of the sort.
It’s also worth reflecting that the government apparently ordering the state broadcaster to purge itself of dissenting voices was perhaps NOT the best way to refute the suggestion that it’s getting a bit fascism-adjacent.
Two themes the Down With Lineker lobby seemed to be keen to run with were; the comparison to 1930s Germany was bang out of order, and that Lineker should stay out of politics and stick to talking about football.
Gary Lineker has now been restored to his position and is merrily tweeting
away about the innocent victims of the government’s latest horrendous policy. But he faces the threat of new BBC social media guidelines ahead. If, in the future, Gary has to restrict himself to talking about football, here are…
SOME ANALOGIES IT’S OKAY FOR GARY LINEKER TO USE
■ Man United’s 7-0 defeat at Liverpool was bad, but the current poll deficit between the Tories and Labour makes it look like a battling goalless draw.
■ Lee Anderson seeks to combine the charming affability of Paul Gascoigne
with the tactical genius of Sir Alex Ferguson, but unfortunately he’s got it the wrong way round.
■ If you want to understand the gulf between what Vote Leave campaigners
were told Brexit would bring, and what Brexit has ACTUALLY brought, just think of what Spurs fans are told each new season will bring, and what they end up with at the end.
■ Manchester City’s Erling Haaland might be a large blonde man who loves scoring, but he’s yet to demand that his dad should get a knighthood.
■ If you liked Kevin Keegan’s 1996 on-air meltdown after been goaded by Fergie’s condescending remarks, you’re going to love Rishi Sunak replying to Keir Starmer every week at PMQs.
■ Stoke City were known for their “route one” tactics. Stoke-on-Trent MP Jonathan Gullis is known for his “leaving refugees without one legal route” tactics.
■ The modern Conservative Party combines the warmth and generosity of Don Revie’s Leeds United with the teamwork and iron self-discipline of Lee Bowyer v Kieron Dyer.
■ Yes, VAR is criticised as a waste of expensive video technology that’s staffed by incompetents, but have you seen GB News?
■ Remember the 2002 Aston Villa v Birmingham City derby, when Villa keeper Peter Enckelman casually let a throw-in into his own net and a Blues fan ran on to the pitch and made the “self-pleasuring” gesture in his face? That’s Brexit, and how Remainers feel watching Brexit unravel.
■ Labour’s recovery under Starmer is the fastest turnaround since Leicester City went from narrowly avoiding relegation in 2015 to winning the Premier League in 2016. (But Keir, if you win the election, please don’t do the next PMQs in your pants)
■ Arsenal won the title five times between 1931 and 1938, so you could say their current league position is – now what’s that phrase again? – “not dissimilar to the ’30s…”
POEM OF THE WEEK
The DG’s a Tory, the chairman is too
They stick together like brothers
They’re all impartial down at the Beeb
But some are more impartial than others
Fiona said it was just the one time
Boris’s dad beat up his mother
So it’s all for the good, bring forth his knighthood
Some are more impartial than others
Andrew Neil was okay to run the Spectator
While tweeting away, he discovered
But those who complain better stay in their lane
Some are more impartial than others