Letters to the Canary: the fallout from the Gary Lineker/BBC scandal continues

Letters to the Canary
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This week’s letters

This week we have people’s thoughts on the situation with Gary Lineker.

Has Gary Lineker finally lit a fuse?

It seems staggering that a single football presenter, Gary Lineker, could shake the establishment to such a degree that decades of Tory censorship could be coming to an end.

What is truly shocking is how the Tories have been able to get away with it for so long. How was it possible that Keir Starmer, the leader of the so-called ‘opposition’, has silenced MPs like Bill Esterson for a similar tweet?

I have spent years praying for somebody in the media to say something, to asks questions, to challenge the constant disinformation and vile rhetoric – as it has been torture to see them getting away with murder for so longer.

I mean, how were they able to get away with it for so long; shoving their vile racist rhetoric and fascist ideology down our throats as if it is the common sense. It has not even been subtle, or a vocal minority of the party – but at its very core, for even Rishi Sunak, who likes to present himself as a moderate, stood on a podium with “Stop the Boats” emblazed on it, as if this sort of sick and depraved slogan is acceptable.

Read on...

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How long have we had to endure the unquestioned narrative that sick and disabled people are a burden that society cannot afford? How long have we had to endure the unemployed described as worthless parasites? How long we have had to listen to them describe the most vulnerable people as little better than vermin unworthy of life? I have endured so much unchallenged Nazi-style vileness it has made sick with despair.

What is shocking is how they and their sympathisers have had sufficient power to silence people for so long.

But we should not take this first blow against the Tory regime to be sufficient, as they may quickly recover and put the so-called ‘impartial’ Fiona Bruce in charge of Match of the Day. Indeed, they might even have the audacity to put in a Tory minister as Gary’s replacement in the interests of impartiality.

I hope that Gary speaking out has finally lit the fuse to bring down this edifice of evil, and that this is the beginning of the end for the Tories.

Damon Hoppe, via email

Lineker outrage reveals the pathetic level of public debate

Suella Braverman’s proposals are utterly devoid of humanity in my opinion, and hearing her dare to use the word ‘compassionate’ to describe them in some Orwellian inversion […] was particularly offensive. I’m surprised she didn’t burst into flames.

And now that Gary Lineker has been effectively accused of comparing those who support the proposed legislation to Nazis and all their horrifying deeds, it reveals the truly pathetic level of public debate in this country which is incapable of accommodating a variety of views and distorts opinions such as Lineker’s in a screaming tantrum of hyperbolic bullshit. The substance then is lost in the tsunami.

The discourse is always hijacked, it seems to me, by the very same people who flaunt their devotion to ‘British values’ – usually cloaked in a unquestioning patriotism that has them spouting nonsense about ‘bringing freedom and democracy’ to countries which just happen to be strategically useful and have lots of oil. Yet as soon as they hear, in their own country, a view they do not like – suddenly these freedoms they espouse are not so palatable to them. How quickly freedom of speech is abandoned in the highly ironic backlash hurled at those daring to make use of this fundamental tenet of any civilised nation.

It’s all so predictable: you don’t support every illegal and immoral military intervention the UK unleashes? Then you don’t support ‘our brave boys’. You question the government diktats on lockdowns? Then you don’t support our wonderful nurses or the NHS. This is the consistent trope we see used in any major debate: a mendacious distortion of the discourse allowing for no nuance, nor any rational analysis, which is why, today, on morning television I heard Gary Lineker’s words described as ‘an insult’ to holocaust victims. The commentator ploughed on with this theme, determined to willfully misunderstand the equation Lineker was seeking to make, that the rhetoric used by the Nazis in the 1930’s, was, indeed, not dissimilar to the repugnant statements spewed out by Braverman and her supporters in parliament. Is this not true? Just check the historical record to find out.

‘But we all know what that led to’, said the commentator, who, I would assess, is not an ignorant person, and could easily follow a simple analogy if she chose to. But no. It was no longer about the comparison of words used before the horrific events of the holocaust unfolded, but about a man boldly accusing Braverman and all those who agree with her of being full-blown Nazis. How utterly absurd. It is Lineker, in fact, who had more right to warn of what that early fascist rhetoric led to, because the German people were not monsters, but targets of carefully directed propaganda by the master propagandist himself, Joseph Goebbels. He helped demonise Jewish people so thoroughly that in increments their rights were eroded by legislation presented as both reasonable and necessary.

It is this dehumanising aspect which Lineker, I believe, was trying to address. It is the most dangerous of mindsets in whatever strata of society it plays out, from playground bullying to an absence of pity for people fleeing countries which ours has turned into hell on earth with our ‘humanitarian interventions’. I actually once heard a woman who was leaving Sainsbury’s say to a man collecting for the RNLI lifeboat charity: ‘I’m not giving to you lot because you rescue those people in the boats’. I was struck dumb, and left the shop with tears forming in my eyes. What kind of person would be OK with leaving men, women and children to drown? And this happened only a week after a baby had drowned when a boat of asylum seekers capsized in the Channel.

For this woman, these ‘people in the boats’ are not actually people at all. They are ‘unpeople’. Those who do not deserve the rights and dignity that she, and the rest of her crowd have.

Alison Banville, via email

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