What Gary Lineker said does not matter. We live in a land of so-called liberty and free speech must be at the heart of that. So, if he wants to say the Tories are a bunch of Nazis (OK, he did not quite say that) then that is fine by me, even if it is complete rot and libellous rot at that.
What actually matters is the line between private and public communication where a contract of impartiality is involved.
Some years ago, I used this page to defend Jon Snow, the Channel 4 broadcaster, who was under pressure because he had been allegedly overheard at Glastonbury saying “**** the Tories”.
If Lineker had been overheard making his comments to a group of friends, I would have taken up my sword, mounted my charger and ridden to his defence. If he had made the comments via a private WhatsApp group or restricted Facebook group then ditto.
At the point, however, that he addresses eight million followers then he has published his views as surely as if he had done so in a newspaper article or in a TV interview.
Social media is media. Before anybody writes to tell me, I am aware that is profoundly ungrammatical but I am following common usage.
Nobody who has signed up to a contract involving impartiality would be allowed to write an article for a newspaper or give an interview promoting or denigrating a political policy.
Therefore, by the same token he or she cannot do that through social media. I do not know what Lineker’s contract specifies but if it says he must follow BBC impartiality guidelines, then he has breached that contract big time.
If it does not, then he can say what he darn well likes. If there is any doubt about the requirement for impartiality then the BBC must make sure that is made transparent and watertight when his contract is renewed.
Those who have stood up for Lineker because they agree with his sentiments have missed the point as have those who want him sacked because they disagree. The point is the classification of social media as media.
Slippery eel feel to fishy Rishi Sunak
I used to think that Rishi Sunak was not much more than merely a competent manager but now I have the slippery eel feel.
First we had that long list of misrepresentations about the new Irish deal, which people now recognise was “overspin”, which is a euphemism for a load of lies.
Then we had much trumpeting of the deal with Macron, which means we give France another tranche of money while that country still resolutely refuses to take returned boat persons – in short, no change.
Now he says that the war with Ukraine will end in negotiation, begging the question of how serious he is about standing up to Putin despite his rhetoric.
Starmer is no better, of course, changing his mind every five minutes according to what he thinks the polls show.
When, oh when, will this country get a political leader who tells us the simple truth and has a clear set of principles? When pigs fly.
Make the woke eat their words
The woke brigade is at it again. The British Dietetic Association is un-Britishly insisting that we give up the use of metaphors when referring to the obese, because phrases such as “pig out” or “wolf it down” make fatties feel like “animals”.
Nay, we must not even call ’em fat but rather “people with higher weight”. Who could produce such nonsense with a straight face and who passes it for publication?
When I was of “higher weight” I called myself fat because that was a simple statement of fact and it is avoiding such facts that is not only silly but dangerous, because it encourages obese and morbidly obese people to avoid the issue.
They are fat because they pig out and after a while that becomes dangerous. End of.
Overdue Duke of Edinburgh award
What took the King so long to honour the wishes of his late parents and make Prince Edward the Duke of Edinburgh, a much -deserved title for a Royal who just gets on with it and carries out his duties without fanfare?
I hope it was because he was waiting for the right moment rather than because he contemplated, even for a millisecond, not doing it at all.
Street preachers, innocent souls praying in their heads, people who dare to question gay marriage or abortion have all fallen easy prey to those for whom arrest statistics are all and common sense nothing.
No sex education until the kids are old enough to understand
The PM has promised a review into inappropriate sex education lessons in schools and to make sure that parents can be fully aware of contents.
Originally he promised an independent inquiry but now he says the Department of Education, which has overseen the current debacle and exclusion of parents, will “start a consultation as soon as possible”. See elsewhere on this page for slippery eel feel.
Any inquiry must be fully independent of the Education Department, must be quick and must stop the undermining of parents who want simply to control the pace of revelation according to each child’s capacity for comprehension.
Actually I have a better idea altogether. Why not ban any sex education for children under the age of eight and then teach the value of marriage and family? No? I thought not.