Why are Lineker’s comments considered worse than the small boat policy?

BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker looks on during the Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium on March 21, 2021 in Leicester, England.

Lineker has come under fire for allegedly failing to take a stance of political impartiality (Image: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

I’m not sure who had the more surreal week; Gary Lineker, or the rest of us watching the response to Gary Lineker.

All he did was call the government’s new “illegal migration law” cruel and say it was aimed at the most vulnerable in society, in language not unlike that of 1930s Germany.

That was all it took to dominate the political agenda for three days and even topped BBC News two nights in a row.

Now the Match of the Day presenter is stepping down from that role due to his social media use and pending an agreement.

Earlier this week, Lineker’s tweets even became a topic of discussion in the House of Commons when Penny Mourdant spoke almost entirely in football-related metaphors for what felt like 90 minutes.

Braverman called Lineker’s comparison “lazy and unhelpful” when she spoke on a BBC podcast, but has failed to correct her own lazy and unhelpful claim that 100 million people could theoretically try to get to the UK for asylum to apply.

Did Lineker call Suella Braverman a Nazi? NO.

Did he call the government Nazis? NO.

Did he draw a sober comparison between the language of the Minister of the Interior and the language used in Germany in the 1930s to instill propaganda fear in a population, to make them believe that their way of life was being threatened by a “hostile” group of people ? Yes.

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The language Braverman has been using for some time, both specifically – like when she called the small boat crisis an “invasion” – and more generally – like her consistent demonization of refugees – is reminiscent of 1930s Germany, something that she has been publicly challenged by a Holocaust survivor.

And so many others agree with the moderator. In fact, Lineker says he has received more messages of support in recent days than at any time since his exploits for England at the 1990 World Cup.

It seems to me that there has been more headlines and more discussion surrounding Gary Lineker’s tweet than Suella Braverman’s more likely than non-illegal schemes to arrest those arriving in the UK via a small boat crossing.

Asylum seekers are arrested on bail without access to judicial review and are held in makeshift detention centers and held there until they can be deported either to a third country such as Rwanda or to their own country.

Whether they are fleeing persecution, whether they are victims of human trafficking – that does not matter to the Home Office because they are banned from entering the UK.

No new safe routes have been announced.

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This cruel policy was announced on Tuesday, but the following evening what was discussed as breaking news on the BBC was not the illegal migration law but the company’s social media policy.

Are we really such a dubious country that we should prioritize a football presenter’s tweets over the livelihood crisis, the war in Ukraine, or migration policies themselves? It is ridiculous.

As a BBC presenter, Lineker came under fire for allegedly failing to take a stance of political impartiality.

Some, including MPs, called for the former England star to be sacked over the comments, while others feared a sacking would make him a martyr.

Now that he’s taking a step back until a solution is found, it seems like many have gotten their wish.

From suggesting he stick with football to claiming his comments are offensive, They used every trick in the manual of public humiliation to try to shame him into deviating from his stance.

But how can you try to publicly humiliate a man who once soiled himself live on international television during a football game, got up and moved on. He’s immune.

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Gary Lineker doesn’t give a fuck.

I don’t think he needs to be disciplined, fired, or even “spoken up” for his tweets.

Rather, he should be commended for standing up to the apparent cruelty of this plan and using his platform to give a voice to the voiceless.

No wonder Tory MPs and right-wing commentators fear him. With a following of 8.7 million people on Twitter, he has a reach that most politicians or media organizations can only dream of.

As a football expert, he is known to people who do not normally engage in political discourse.

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As a trusted household name, he has the penetrating ability to potentially change the minds of people who might only vote a certain way because that’s the way their dad voted and they’ve never known anything else – just like they support the same football team as their dad .

Gary has the power to make people question the status quo – and that’s terrifying for a political party that has been in power for 13 years and relies heavily on public apathy to retain a majority .

If more people are mobilized to vote, they could vote with Labor for change and the Tories could lose power. Just like everyone else who has benefited from their nepotism or tax breaks for the rich.

Speaking of wealth, Lineker is not doing badly, but he still uses his platform for good, has taken in refugees and continues to fight for good on and off Twitter. However, his wealth was used against him by some commentators, who called him a hypocrite.

Would the same right-wing voices – often the self-proclaimed advocates of free speech – be calling for “impartiality” if Lineker had sided with them on the plan?

If the government’s disagreement over a cruel and unworkable policy is viewed as contentious, then I worry about the direction this country is taking.

Lineker’s opinion was educated and came from a place of concern for the most vulnerable, yet he was urged to remain “impartial”. No one should be expected to remain impartial to a plan so gruesome as to be likely to violate international law.

To remain impartial with an interior minister whose sentiments I believe echo 1930s German rhetoric is to ignore history and do a disservice to all those who have warned us about the demonization and dehumanization of others.

Lineker is one of the nation’s most popular presenters, and if he loses his job, he won’t have a problem finding another one. Others are not fortunate enough to speak out against those in power.

But he set a precedent. He held his head high, stuck to his principles, and chose compassion over cruelty.

If only the government would do the same.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact us by email at jess.austin@metro.co.uk.

Share your views in the comments below.

MORE: Piers Morgan calls Gary Lineker ‘victim of a Jeremy Clarkson-style witch hunt’

MORE : Gary Lineker confirms return to Match of the Day, hits out at ‘ridiculously disproportionate story’ over Nazi Germany tweet

MORE: Gary Lineker ‘will not face BBC disciplinary action’ over Nazi Germany comments.

https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/10/why-are-linekers-comments-seen-as-worse-than-the-small-boats-policy-18422525/ Why are Lineker's comments considered worse than the small boat policy?

Justin Scacco

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