Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday, 13 March 2023

Lineker: biting the hand that feeds him

Politics and contract issues aside, I can’t help feeling that, for me, at least, the Gary Lineker affair boils down to a question of manners.

Lineker may or may not be directly employed by the BBC - the matter is currently under scrutiny as there’s a substantial potential tax bill involved - but his status as a paid pundit surely brings with it some social and moral obligations towards the organisation which offers him a weekly platform to exercise his specialist skills and whose metaphorical bread and salt he has eaten for decades.

It’s a bit like a wedding singer being found in the hotel bar after the reception making loud and occasionally offensive comments about the local mayor (even though the bride and groom have already asked him to stop); he may not be breaking any rules, but it does show a lack of respect for the bridal party and reflects badly on the people who who hired him.

There's something embarrassing about the whole business; this is a grown man with a successful media career employing the sort of Hitler-based comparison that was used as a last resort in acrimonious student debates back in the days of Margaret Thatcher (and my misspent youth). We used to call it ‘dropping the H-bomb’ - the nuclear option which effectively ended the discussion, since any attempt at remonstration could be howled down with gleeful cries of ‘fascist!’ (‘pig’ was an optional extra). 

It’s taken me all weekend to work out of what - or whom - all this was reminding me but I got there in the end...


  1. I agree, there is something embarrassing about the whole business. To my mind Lineker should have realised that his comment was by any rational, adult standard untrue. It's not a free speech issue so much as a veracity issue.

    1. The concept of truth has taken something of a battering recently, what with the antics of Harry and Meghan and a certain fast-and-loose attitude by campaign groups and lobbyists.

      That Prince Harry quote deserves to be repeated as often as possible as a warning that it may yet prove to be the epitaph of our civilisation:

      “'There's just as much truth in what I remember and how I remember it as there is in so-called objective facts.”


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