I stand with Gary

For those of you who don’t live in the UK you might find this explainer useful. Gary Lineker is a former footballer, a great centre-forward, who played for Leicester, Tottenham and Barcelona amongst others. Since retiring from football, Gary became the presenter on Match of the Day, a football highlights programme that goes out every Saturday evening.

I have watched Match of the Day (commonly known as MOTD) religiously since it first started in the 1960’s and Gary is without doubt the best presenter it has ever had. Along with fellow pundits and strikers, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, they are a fount of knowledge on all things football and a joy to watch and to learn from. Some of my readers will note that I even included it as the title in the seventh Mac Maguire mystery.

Gary sent out a tweet and, for that heinous act, he has been taken off the show. While many people who appear on the BBC, and even employees (which Gary is not), seem to feel free to comment on political events yet they are not sanctioned. Why? Because they support the current government. Gary does not. To explain, the government is pushing through a new bill, the Illegal Immigration Bill, ostensibly to stop the influx of small boats into the UK. However, it is a cruel piece of legislation that breaks international human rights laws and seeks to halt asylum seekers fleeing war and conflict from settling in the UK. Even very young children may be deported to the centre of Africa, in fact, our current Home Secretary said that she ‘dreams’ of being able to achieve this.

This same Home Secretary has also stated that without the bill there will be an ‘invasion’ of immigrants and that 100 million are lining the shores of France waiting to cross. Lies, all lies. Gary tweeted that this language was reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s. He is right. Exterminations start with the demonising of the other.

So people who moan constantly about ‘cancel culture’ want Gary to be cancelled, those who moan about ‘free speech’ want to shut Gary up, at the same time that we have a government that is using the language of the ‘Great Replacement Theory’, a wacky conspiracy theory up there with flat earthers and tin foil hat wearers.

I worked at the BBC for well over a decade and found the people who work there to be, on the whole, decent and truthful. However, there is a fetid stink coming out of the BBC these days and it starts at the very top. The chairman, Richard Sharp, gave the Conservative Party £400,000 in donations and arranged an £800,000 loan for the then Prime MInister, Boris Johnson. Most of this wasn’t mentioned during the appointment process. This is being investigated but Sharp doesn’t have a shred of integrity to him and has refused to stand down until the investigation has reached a conclusion. It’s also worth noting that the current Director-General, Tim Davies, once stood as a Conservative in an election. So much for impartiality.

The state of the UK at the moment is frightening. Public services are falling apart, children are going unfed and people can’t afford to heat their homes. This government is, without doubt, the most incompetent ever and they are constantly looking for shiny things to take attention away from their daily disasters. Immigration is the shiniest of shiny things.

I am also sick to my stomach in hearing constantly about ‘free speech’. Words can kill. When elected officials spout hate speech, it gives the lunatic far right the excuse to act on them. Hate speech is and should be a crime. After all, no-one has the God-given right to go into a crowded cinema and shout ‘Fire’.

Gary, keep up the good work. I for one won’t be watching MOTD until you are reinstated.

PS Gary has now been reinstated but has been silenced again but this time by literally losing his voice through having a cold. It has been heartwarming to see the massive show of support in Gary’s favour but also shocking to read some of the comments from those who don’t like to be told the truth. It’s said that, in a time of trouble, all that evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing. Let’s all be like Gary and make sure that our voices are heard.

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