Metro Letters, March 14: Lineker-BBC debate goes into overtime

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What are the readers concerned about? (Image: Getty)

Gary Lineker will resume hosting Match Of The Day after being red carded by the BBC.

The channel’s highest-paid presenter has been suspended for his tweets about the government’s planned new laws to curb migrants crossing the Channel.

But some readers say they enjoyed watching the no-frills football, while others came to Lineker’s defense and said he has a right to say what he believes.

Read on to see what else people are talking about…

■ ‘Match Of The Day’ aired Saturday without suspended host Gary Lineker, his experts, commentary or even the theme song (Metro, Mon).

The move followed a dispute over the BBC’s impartiality after its star presenter called the government’s illegal migration law “immeasurably cruel” and used “language not unlike that of Germany in the 1930s”.

The 20-minute version of the show drew 2.58 million viewers – half a million more than last Saturday.

I saw it for the first time in years. It was great – no grossly overpaid moderators under the illusion that people are interested in everything they say, no pundits stating the obvious, no interviews with players or team managers, no commenters left us over the “sophisticated”. Report a player’s foot.

Bottom line, I could watch football instead of having to watch people talk about football. Martin J Phillips, Leeds

Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker didn’t appear on BBC’s Match Of The Day last weekend (Image: Getty)

■ I’m tired of opinions like that of John Daniels (MetroTalk, Mon), who suggests that immigrants rowing boats across the Channel are “skipping the line.”

These are people who fled war-torn countries like Syria, Palestine and Ukraine. It’s not your fault here.

Those who row the boats and put them on them are to blame. And these are the people we should target, not the ones who want a better life.

These people exploit migrants at their most vulnerable points, taking their life savings to smuggle them here, forcing them to shelter in appalling conditions and work for free to pay off “debts”. It’s called human trafficking. Laura, Walthamstow

■ I agree with Gary Lineker on the poor people fleeing war and poverty in small boats across the English Channel.

The government is making what is (if you excuse the pun) a drop in the ocean a big problem.

And why it makes this a problem is to win votes in the likes of Stoke, Bury, Leigh and other so-called Red Wall seats, while the more enlightened in other parts of the country worry about issues like the cost of energy and food, more Help for childcare, care homes, more funding for the NHS, closing tax loopholes and raising windfall taxes. I could go on. Eddie Bailey, Liverpool

Suella Bravermann

Lineker has criticized Suella Braverman’s plans for legislation to curb migrant crossings (Image: PA)

■ Barbara (MetroTalk, Fri) suggests that Gary Lineker’s “multi-millionaire” status is so far from this country’s poor that he should “return to his naïve and spoiled world”.

Is this the same world as multi-millionaire Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and all his rich Tory friends?

The illegal migration law is not about helping poor people in this country. It’s all about winning votes from right-wing fanatics who have no sympathy for their fellow human beings. David, Manchester

■ The BBC keeps the likes of David Attenborough, Graham Norton and now Lineker in office for far too long, marketing them as ‘national institutions’. Then you know what? Individuals are beginning to believe it themselves. DD, London

■ Lineker was correct in his statement about British asylum seekers policy.

Furthermore, how can the BBC claim to be impartial when its chairman is appointed by the government? And with the government constantly threatening to change or abolish the BBC’s television licence, it’s obvious that the BBC must follow the government line.

Only when there is no state involvement can the BBC honestly claim to be impartial. Until then, the BBC is just a puppet and the Tories are pulling the strings. David M, Leeds

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (13814295g) BBC New Broadcasting House in London comes under public debate as the British broadcaster's impartiality after a football commentator was suspended over a tweet criticizing the government fugitive Politics. BBC under pressure over Gary Lineker suspension, London, England, UK - March 12, 2023

The BBC has announced an independent review of its internal social media policies (Image: Shutterstock)

■ What some people don’t understand is that it starts like this – the dehumanization of every group of people slowly leads to the extremes that happened in Germany in the 1930’s.

The stance this government is taking could easily lead to such extremes unless people are brave enough to stand up to them. Full marks for Gary Lineker. John Lewis, Couldon

■ It’s not Gary Lineker who has to go. It’s the government. Do we live in Putin’s Russia, where freedom of expression is forbidden? The government is fueling this controversy. I want a BBC that has freedom of speech. Louise, Cheltenham

■ Without the BBC, Lineker would have no following on Twitter, so the organization is right to sanction him for his code of impartiality. John Nightingale, Redbridge

Uncertainty over floral tributes, a free ride for dodgers and Covid mental health

■ There are seats and benches donated in memory of loved ones in public parks and gardens across the country. I really appreciate these and find it a thoughtful and kind way of remembering someone.

However, relatives often attach a bouquet, often artificial, to the bench. I feel uncomfortable sitting on such a bench and tend not to use such a friendly facility. Is it the same for others? David Atherton, Merseyside

■ Every day I see several people on my way to work squeezing through the West Hampstead Overground ticket gates with impunity, watched and unmolested by TfL staff. Is it common for employees to ignore fare evasion? I would like to hear from a TfL staff member. George, Hertfordshire

■ I would like to congratulate Gogglebox on its 10th birthday. I don’t know if many Metro readers watch it, but I can’t think of a better show on TV. Yeah, Wakefield

■ Regarding the psychological consequences of Covid (MetroTalk, Fr). It comes as no shock that we have all gone through loneliness and fear during lockdown and that goes for both the young and the elderly. The simple solution is to acknowledge and learn from the past and show support to other members, because by doing so we can all look to a brighter future. Meryl Rodrigues, London

■ I am amazed by all these stories about people’s mental health. Yes Covid has been a terrible time but why has it affected so many? Seems people can’t cope with life and the slightest excitement leaves them with mental health problems. Vicky, West Midlands

What did you say…

On Monday we asked you whether or not you approve of taking pets on public transport during rush hour after a reader complained about it.

You said…

  • No – not everyone wants to share a confined space with an animal – 68%
  • Yes – at least they brighten up a boring commute – 29%
  • Neither – I leave my comment – 3%

Begin an SMS with VIEWS followed by your comment, name and city to 65700. Standard network charges apply. Or email Views, Rush-Hour Crush and Good Deed Feed helpline: 020 3615 0600. Full terms and conditions at Metro is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organization. Comments may be edited for legality, clarity or space reasons. Metro Letters, March 14: Lineker-BBC debate goes into overtime

Justin Scaccy

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