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Gary Lineker’s own goal

BBC football pundit Gary Lineker just brought the end of the BBC licence fee measurably closer.

In this tweet he quoted the BBC Press Office saying he had signed a new five year deal with them and said,

“Oh dear. Thoughts are with the haters at this difficult time.”

In the last few months the BBC has turned a corner, the one leading to a blind alley in a bad part of town. The strategy of appointing a former Conservative politician as Director-General might have worked ten years ago but comes too late now. The almighty row about the last night of the Proms finally convinced many of those older viewers and listeners who were once its core audience that the state broadcaster does not like them very much. The Beeb’s protestations that its proposal to omit the words of Land of Hope and Glory and Rule, Britannia was because of Covid-19 rather than BLM were not believed. Partly this disbelief was because – until it became clear how big the row was going to be – the BBC itself had given its usual sympathetic coverage to those saying patriotic anthems should be dropped from the Proms because “How are we going to break down the institutional system, if we hang on to these [songs]?”. Partly it was because this was the last straw, not the first. There had been many straws like this:

…during a debate about “white women’s privilege” on No Country for Young Women, a podcast devoted to racial issues, hosted by Monty Onanuga and Sadia Azmat.

Amelia Dimoldenberg, a YouTuber who appeared on the episode, urged white women to “educate yourself, read some books, so you are aware of the histories of white people and race”. She added: “Don’t be so loud. Stop shouting and stop attacking black voices — instead you should be uplifting them.”

The advice was echoed by her fellow guest Charlotte Lydia Riley, a historian at Southampton University, who said that white women should “try not to be defensive about your whiteness”. She added: “A lot of the time when women are Karens it’s because they are completely unwilling to accept that their whiteness is a privilege . . . They feel like they don’t want to interrogate how their behaviour might be racist.”

The guests, both white, suggested that white women should stop expressing opinions. “Get out the way, basically,” said Dr Riley, to which Ms Dimoldenberg agreed: “Yeah, basically leave.”

A lot of white women were moved to comment on that Times article. They expressed complete willingness to “basically leave” the BBC, as soon as the law allowed them to do so. Middle-aged, middle-class Times readers would once have been the most eloquent defenders of the BBC and what a previous Director-General delicately called its “unique method of funding”, a euphemism for force.

Who else among former loyalists has the British Broadcasting Corporation annoyed recently? The old. Personally I thought Tony Blair’s decision in 2000 to issue free TV licences to those over the age of 75 was sentimental nonsense, but as with all subsidies, cancelling them makes people angry. Who’s left? Surely that would be fans of Match of the Day, the longest-running football television programme in the world?

Maybe, maybe not. Match of the Day‘s lead presenter is the aforementioned Gary Lineker who is so famous that I know who he is. Until his recent £400,000 pay cut, agreed to help out his employer in hard times and, er, increase gender balance among BBC salaries, Gary Lineker was earning £1.75 million per annum. To have presented Match of the Day for as long as he has at the salary he commands (“commands” as in someone at the command economy of the BBC commands that he shall have that amount), Mr Lineker must be doing something right. But he is not doing Twitter right if he thinks reminding people that he is now down to a measly £1.35 million will go down well with the average football fan, especially since he had agreed as a condition of the deal that he he would tweet more carefully.

Someone called Michael Rafferty replied,

Let’s not be smug Gary iv not worked since Christmas due to this pandemic… It’s comments like that put me off people like yourself …

jim ferguson says,

I dont hate you Gary but as an ex serviceman on a lowly pension after serving my country putting my life on the line 23 years and then having to pay to keep you in that style you turn your nose up at us feel its unfair when i dont want to or should be forced too pay for it

LSW1 says,

Shouldn’t you be on your way out so they can replace you with someone younger and more diverse?

25 comments to Gary Lineker’s own goal

  • jmc

    Here is another very good reason to wish for the demise of the current BBC.

    You will never guess who is the current head of BBC News? Why it’s Fran Unsworth. The woman responsible for the live broadcast of the police raid on Cliff Richards house which cost the BBC many millions of pounds in court costs and damages. A decision for which she never ever apologized for or showed even the slightest contrition. To dare criticize her unconscionable behavior it seems was an attack on “press freedom”. By all accounts a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

    And her punishment by the BBC for her causing the single worst scandal in BBC News history. She was promoted to the top job.

    So if you were wondering who has been setting the very nasty vindictive and thoroughly biased tone for BBC News recently look no further than Fran.

    I think we have now reached the point of – BBC Delenda Est

  • Steve Turner

    lSW1 forgets; Gary is safe ecause he’s from a minority group. Remoaners.

  • Eric

    In the last few months the BBC has turned a corner, the one leading to a blind alley in a bad part of town.

    Nice sentence. It made me chuckle.

  • In the USA, National Public Radio convinced me they didn’t like me decades ago. Us deplorables gotta accept our place. Need to learn humility. Need to vote for Trump, to get the snoots off the air.

  • lucklucky

    BBC exists due to offensive violence.
    They have the gall to force people they hate to pay for them. Slavery by another name.

  • James Strong

    Why is Lineker paid so much?
    How many Match of The Day viewers watch it BECAUSE Lineker is the presnter, i.e. would not watch it if someone else was the presenter?

    I suspect that number is very small.

    The BBC is wasting a lot of money on his remuneration.

  • James Strong

    Why are TV newsreaders paid so much?

    I can understand that the presenters of R4 Today should be paid well; they have to keep abreast of events, have some understanding of the world and carry out interviews where they have to think.

    In contrast, the job of a TV newsreader is: not to be ugly, have a reasonably pleasant voice without an extreme regional accent and be able to read aloud.

    There must be literally, literally, tens of thousands of people who could, and would do that for £50,000 pa.

    Why has Clive Myrie got that job at all? He uses wholly novel intonation patterns when he reads aloud and those intonation patterns do nothing at all to help viewers’ understanding.

    Defund the BBC.

    Let the BBC ‘talent’ find out what their worth really is by selling their skills to people who pay voluntarily rather than by compulsion.

  • I got out of the habit of watching TV when I started living abroad for extended periods of time in countries where the main broadcast TV was not in English. I am quite grateful for that since it got me out of a time-wasting habit that had begun in childhood.

    So, it was hardly surprising that when I eventually returned to the UK I made the conscious decision not get one of the new digital TV’s (my old TV was analogue only), nor to pay the BBC’s demanded Danegeld.

    It was at this point that I was introduced to some of the most perverse and counterproductive communications in modern history in the form of the TV Licensing Threatogram. Like the “Unique Way the BBC is funded”, this combination of bluster and bombast simultaneously accuses me of committing an offence (under the Communications act 2003, s.363), while simultaneously demanding that regardless of my reasons for not having a TV License, legal or otherwise, I must contact TV Licensing* as if I am some pathetic serf requiring permission from his manorial Lord NOT to watch their bullshit propaganda.

    Despite the BBC’s ongoing efforts to extort their Danegeld from me, I will continue to resist for the sanity of my mind and the eternal goodness of my soul.


    * – TV Licensing is effectively a pseudonym for the BBC allowing them to demand money-with-menaces without tainting the BBC brand. Similarly, they outsource their in-person, door-to-door harassment to Crapita Plc for the same reason.

  • In addition, despite the BBC’s whining that “Decriminalisation would be the end of the BBC”, it has effectively been decriminalised in Scotland for about a decade. However, since the last mention of this in the mainstream press is an article from 5-years ago (and neither the law, nor the position has been changed), I’m surprised by the mainstream media’s silence on this… 😆

    Pressure has increased on the government to drop criminal penalties for dodging paying for a TV licence, after it was revealed that no one in Scotland has been jailed for the crime for more than five years. [JG – i.e. since 2010]

    In England and Wales, dozens have been jailed every year for not paying the fee which funds the BBC.

    David Cameron has previously pledged to decriminalise the £145.50 fee, amid concerns that enforcement of it is too heavy-handed.

    John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, has described the licence fee as “worse than a poll tax” and ultimately “unsustainable”.

    • TV licence inspectors three times more likely to be attacked by a householder than an animal
    BBC will bear £650m cost of free TV licences for over-75s
    A freedom of information request submitted by the Daily Mail revealed that no one in Scotland has been jailed for not having a TV licence for more than five years.

    This is due to a legal reform in Scotland which means people are no longer jailed if they fail to pay a fine of under £500. Only 32 people went through the courts on an offence of not paying for their TV licence. In 2012 in England and Wales, more than 180,000 people – almost 3,500 a week – appeared before the Magistrates Courts, accused of watching television without a valid licence in, with 155,000 being convicted and fined. This counted for one in ten UK court cases.

    Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who is a campaigner for reform, told the Daily Mail: “In England and Wales there are 180,000 prosecutions a year for failing to pay the licence fee, and dozens of people are jailed each year.

    “In Scotland, there were 32 prosecutions in the courts and no one went to jail. Yet we have not seen evasion go through the roof, as the BBC claims it would. It is a myth that it would happen if we had decriminalisation.”

    The cabinet is split on the idea of decriminalisation, with Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Commons leader Chris Grayling pushing for the move which they argue would save valuable time in already overburdened courts.

    No Scots jailed for dodging licence fee as calls for scrapping criminal penalties grow louder (from 18th August 2015)

    I’m not quite sure why there aren’t more recent articles on this, possibly because my Google-foo is lacking, but also possibly because the BBC / TV Licensing is using it’s advertising and PR muscle to ensure that decriminalisation doesn’t spread to England and Wales?

  • Well, thanks to Sky Sports’ little social experiment we’ll soon find out whether people watch a sports show because of who the commentators are, or not…

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Gary Lineker has the kind of face that is incredibly punchable. I wonder what a lot of other footballers think about him when his back is turned. I have heard unflattering stories about his rudeness and general demeanor when the cameras are off.

  • Well, thanks to Sky Sports’ little social experiment we’ll soon find out whether people watch a sports show because of who the commentators are, or not

    We kinda had this with Top Gear. Whatever you think of Clarkson, Hammond and May, they were entertaining and enjoyed by their audience. The BBC shot itself in the foot when they effectively got rid of them. Sure, Top Gear continues without them in some zombified form, but the BBC effectively destroyed the Top Gear brand out of little more than spite because its presenters ignored the BBC woke, politically correct leftwing bias.

    I suspect that they are about to achieve a similar (albeit less muted) reaction to their effective dismissal of Sue Barker, Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell from “Question of Sport” so that they can replace them with more “diverse” presenters.

    I sometimes wonder how many feet the BBC has left to shoot…

  • Mr Ecks

    Mr Pearce–I recently perused a video of a martial arts expert using his skills to rip the ears of a pig’s head he had purchased from a butcher for just that purpose.

    If such horror were to befall Linnycar–God forbid!–then the only thing worse would be if some (re)mainiac were to –in the manner of Samuel Doe at the hands of Flight-Leftenant Jerry Rawlings(the most popular video of that year in Liberia)–serve Lineeka up his own ears with a plate of rice.

  • Lord T

    Not that long ago Gary was Mr Nice Guy and everyone loved him. How quickly that can change. LOL

  • The Pedant-General

    @John Galt,

    This. They ruined Radio2 as well. I used to drive to and from work (remember that?) reasonably regularly and loved Chris Evans in the morning and Simon Mayo in the late pm. The sudden decision that, because the audience had quite a lot of females, the presenter must be female basically ruined it.

    Both men and women seemed to enjoy male presenters.
    I don’t know about women, but very few men seem to like the female presenters.

    We may be wrong and demonstrating an appalling level of (conscious) bias and it’s all the fault of the patriarchy, but I’m not going to be beaten into agreeing to listen to something that I don’t like.

  • Stonyground

    While it is a national disgrace that not paying the BBC protection money is considered a crime, the figure of 180,000 is very encouraging. That is only the number of people that were caught. If it was down to me I would get rid of the TV as I don’t watch it much and wouldn’t miss it. Mrs. Stonyground watches it more than I do but really not all that much. She likes cricket so it earns its keep from that alone.

  • mongoose

    My TV Licence ran out at the end of last month. All BBC links deleted. iPlayer deleted. They think it’s all over…

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    Mr Lineker has some insights into the game, or at least as the game was when he last played some time ago, and can make–as can many others–quips about some event or person or other. But he adds nothing to actually watching the game on TV and I suspect those who pay him (he turns up on BT Sport as much as the BBC) know this too. It’s almost if he is there because of the convenience factor of not interviewing some ten thousand people who could easily replace him.

    But it is easy to watch the sport without the ‘pundits’ who when push comes to shove more or less merely echo what any football fan already knows, and it is entirely possible to watch football without commentary. My wife sometimes asks why I have turned the sound off when I am watching a game but I explain I can see what’s happening and having someone gasp ‘Can you believe that?’ when it was utterly believable because I saw it happen, doesn’t add to any pleasure or knowledge.

    These days, as someone who has seen countless games live and on TV, I prefer to pick the games available. As I don’t watch ‘Match of the Day’ I end up watching something like Schalke v Dortmund or even Turkish football if only because in the latter no-one is going to ‘take a knee’ before kick-off. There are some things that have turned me off the game far more than playing for a draw.

  • Mr Ed

    Two legal reforms are urgently needed, the abolition of any requirement to pay for a licence to receive transmissions of programmes (from anywhere on Earth) which is what the BBC licence is, even if you don’t watch it. I haven’t had a TV for over a decade, and I don’t miss it. The last time I saw TV was probably a year ago in a hotel when I turned the TV on out of curiosity. The staggering inflexibility of the product, the tedious synchronised adverts on the commercial channels, the sheer banality of it all. TV should have died off long ago, even if streaming is dominated by like-minded corporations as woke as Netflix – which I was astonished to find, when visiting a relative – didn’t have almost everything you could think of. Not one film I searched for was on it, it was the same old crap. Just get rid of TV and within a month you’ll wonder why you kept it so long. There was in East Germany a valley called the Valley of the Naive (literally ‘Clueless Ones’) as they could only get East Germany TV due to geography, when others could get West German TV and compare the relatively free and fair news from outside with the State output. I feel that I left that Valley in the UK a decade ago, and I have my own mountain viewpoint. Colleagues occasionally say to me ‘Did you see X last night?’ and then stop themselves when they remember that I didn’t.

    I fear however, that even if the BBC started every news programme with a 2-minute hate for Mr Johnson and his party, he and most of his MPs would simply brush it off as ‘journalism’ and want it to carry on.

    The other reform: Changing Lineker’s surname, requiring on pain of a fine the new one to be used by everyone for all purposes, to ‘Glitter’.

  • Duncan S

    I stopped watching TV at the start of lockdown to preserve my sanity (and the TV): for the first time in my 50 something years my grip on the remote control actually loosened for a split-second before I stopped myself hurling it at the box during some piece of PPJ (piss-poor-journalism).

    In July, or thereabouts, having lived without the idiot box for several months, I submitted a refund claim to “TV Licensing” (my license wasn’t due for renewal until September) and a few weeks ago I received the refund. According to TV Licensing I shouldn’t hear from them for two years(!?).

    I might, in time, sign up for something such as Netflix, but it will be to watch something that I am happy to pay for.

  • Stonyground

    Having thought about my earlier post and reading some of the others, it has occurred to me that the TV licence is the only reason that I would like to be rid of my telly. It was fully paid for years ago, it takes up no space. The only reason that it is a liability is that it costs me over £150 a year to watch it.

  • Duncan S


    Removing the TV from my lounge freed up space for a 7 shelf bookcase, a 2 seater sofa and a mini sound system (which allows me to listen to movies!)

  • Stonyground

    Ours is a flat one mounted on the wall, takes up hardly any space at all.

  • In addition, despite the BBC’s whining that “Decriminalisation would be the end of the BBC”, it has effectively been decriminalised in Scotland for about a decade. (John Galt, September 16, 2020 at 7:29 am)

    i.e. since the SNP came to power.

    Scottish Nationalism is anti-UK and anti-English, but does not enthuse the BBC as much as the natz think it should. On the one hand, I can quite see why the natz feel slighted, given how much the beeb likes every other form of that. On the other hand, I suspect the beeb thinks (rightly, I suspect) that if the natz had the power, the beeb’s Scottish broadcasting would have to keep the natz a lot ‘happier’ than its UK broadcasting ever had to keep a Labour government, never mind a Tory one. And I guess the PC cringe that makes English broadcasters lap up the insults from other sources doesn’t work when Scots serve them. Since Boris became PM, the beeb have (seemed to me to have) given Sturgeon something of an easy ride, but it was not always so.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes the BBC Tax (“license fee”) should be abolished – but so should the regulations that mean that all the “independent” television stations are on the left.

    The “Ofcom” stuff about “objective” and “balanced” is total drivil – “Ofcom” (and all bodies of this sort) are utterly dishonest.

    Let there be many different television stations – with many DIFFERENT political stances.

    A long line of “liberal” left “independent” television stations would be no better than the current situation.