We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“We don’t have to feel like prey”

Fair play to the Guardian for running (sorry) this article, which will have gone against the preconceptions of many of its readers:

‘We don’t have to feel like prey’: the female joggers running with guns

Jamie, a 40-year-old runner who prefers to withhold her last name for privacy, says, “Women who carry while running are not monolithic, but we are often characterized as such in the media. We are characterized as right-wing, aggressive, backwards-thinking, and ignorant of the risks of gun ownership. I am none of these. I am educated, politically moderate, and sane.”

Jamie goes on to describe her own experiences. “I was followed around a popular lake trail by a man who exposed himself to me … about a half mile later, I heard steps behind me and it was him.” It was getting dark, and Jamie realized she was alone with the man, who she assumed was strong enough to overpower her. He came closer and closer, ignoring her entreaties to leave her alone, and backed her into some trees. Finally, “I put my hand on my [up until then concealed] pistol like I was about to draw and I told him to get away from me.” Suddenly, Jamie’s aggressor completely changed his demeanor, telling her to, “stay safe”, and running away.

“By refusing to take part in this collective operation”

Idrissa Gueye is a Senegalese footballer who plays for his country and for the French side Paris Saint-Germain.

On Sunday 15th May, Paris Saint-Germain played Montpellier. On that day, players in the French Ligue 1 were meant to wear football jerseys with the numbers in LGBT rainbow colours in order to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Unexpectedly, Mr Gueye did not play in that match. So far as I can find out with my limited ability to search news reports in French, he has not said why he sat out the match, but it is widely believed that it was because he felt that it would be incompatible with his religious beliefs to wear a shirt in Pride colours. He is a practising Muslim.

Via Paul Embery, I found this quotation from a letter that the FFF (Fédération Française de Football / French Football Federation) sent to Mr Gueye on May 17th:

“There are two possibilities, either these allegations are unfounded and we invite you to speak out without delay to silence these rumours. For example, we invite you to accompany your message by a photo of yourself wearing said shirt.”

“Or the rumours are true. In this case we invite you to realise the impact of your act, and the grave error committed. The fight against discrimination towards different minorities, whoever they might be, is a vital fight for all times. Whether it’s skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, or any other difference, all discrimination is based on the same principle which is rejection of the other because they are different from the majority.”

“By refusing to take part in this collective operation, you are effectively validating discriminatory behaviour, and rejection of the other, and not just against the LGBTQI+ community. The impact of football on society and the capacity for footballers to be a role model for those who admire them gives us all a particular responsibility.”

The report and translation come from the website Get French Football News. It says that it is quoting a story from the French sports paper L’Equipe. I believe the original L’Equipe story is this: “Le Conseil national de l’éthique de la FFF a écrit à Idrissa Gueye (PSG)” The headline means, “The National Ethics Council of the FFF has written to Idrissa Gueye (PSG)”.

One does not have to share Mr Gueye’s religious beliefs, or his (probable) opinions on LGBT issues, to see something sinister in this demand that he make a display of loyalty to prove his “innocence” of a charge that he did not participate in what is effectively the visual equivalent of compelled speech.

Why do they bother? They say Gueye must get himself photographed in a rainbow shirt because he’s a footballer and thus allegedly a role model. But such gestures of solidarity are inspiring only if they are known to be sincere. No one is going to be inspired to rethink their prejudices regarding gay people if and when Idrissa makes some obviously reluctant gesture of support.

This ghastly “Conservative” government – a continuing series

The UK government wants, among other things set out in its Parliamentary legislative agenda, to regulate football as an industry. The country that invented association football, known as soccer in certain barbarian regions, more than a century ago, is now to have it regulated by the State. Some form of quasi-autonomous non-governmental body, aka Quango, will be set up to oversee the sport. I am sure there will be keen interest in the sort of worthies who will be nominated to run this body. No doubt all the warnings in the past about how regulators can be “captured” by the entities being regulated will be ignored, as ignored as all the other lessons about the dangers of putting the State in charge of such matters.

It is all utterly pointless: the process is in train. Take the aforementioned linked article by the BBC – all the complaints are that the legislation to bring about a regulator isn’t happening fast enough, or is wide enough in scope. The idea that no such State regulator is needed, and that such a move represents a further assault on the autonomous institutions of civil society, is completely absent. Football leagues and associations are effectively gutted from within. What next: a State regulator for bridge, arm-wrestling and golf?

A mark of so-called “conservatives” is that the importance of autonomous institutions, of the dangers of regulatory “mission creep”, are part of their thinking. (This publication from the Institute of Economic Affairs gives a good summary of why State regulation of such activity is a mistake.)

The administration led by Mr Johnson is not remotely conservative in any profound sense. Of course, dear reader, you knew that. What I offer here is merely further evidence confirming it, and why the drift towards “bread and circus” politics, with a mix of oafish authortarianism, neglect of real reform, and fecklessness on energy and spending, is going to continue.

Bad times.

Update: I have thought about my grumpy words above – and don’t apologise for them – and wondered if there is more that needs saying. To play Devil’s Advocate, advocates of a football regulator would argue, perhaps, that the game is big business; further, it affects cities’ economic welfare quite a bit now. Lots of foreigners with interesting tax and financial affairs play here. As we have seen recently with Chelsea being forced to part ways with Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, some of the ownership of football today is murky, to say the least. And football also has a bearing on health, public order (misbehaviour of fans is, sadly, still a thing). So for all these reasons we need a regulator. But I disagree. First, we already have anti-money laundering/KYC laws to check the financial bona fides of people/firms that want to buy clubs. The laws already exist – the job is to enforce them. Employment contracts, tax, etc, are matters for the existing body of laws in a country. Crowd control is a matter where clubs can agree to work with law enforcement, for a fee.

Given the foregoing, I don’t understand what a regulator will do that could not be done already. If people are worried about corrupt practices, or clubs cheating the rules on buying players, then however annoying this is, these aren’t matters for a regulator, but where relevant, for law authorities.

It is hard to avoid concluding that this regulator will end up being gamed (sorry for that pun) by the industry it is designed to oversee, and will be a focus for the usual political types aiming to appeal to the “Man on the street” by taking postures over football.

Mercedes, cladding and what Brian Micklethwait would say

Lewis Hamilton says he had ‘nothing to do’ with Mercedes deal with Grenfell firm

A little bit of background. A company called Kingspan sold some of the cladding that was largely responsible for the ferocity of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 70 or so people. That same company now sponsors the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team. Kingspan themselves claim that their product was used illegally and without their knowledge.

There’s more. The government, unusefully, is poking its oar in:

Meanwhile, Communities Secretary Michael Gove said the government could amend advertising rules on racing cars if Mercedes does not pull the partnership with Kingspan.

The apparent rule being invoked here is that you should not receive money from a company that has supplied a product where the misuse of that product has led to someone’s death.

Oddly enough there is another company whose name appears on Mercedes’s cars that falls into the same category. That company is Mercedes. Mercedes makes cars. Rather a lot of people have misused Mercedes cars (and lorries) over the years and – guess what – lots of people have died.

It’s actually a bit worse than that. Mercedes is the result of a merger between Daimler and Benz. It is not entirely clear to me who invented the car but the choice comes down to one of those two. So – you could argue – not only are Mercedes responsible for Mercedes car deaths but every other car death as well. That’s millions of people (I think). So, if Mercedes should stop receiving sponsorship from Kingspan it should certainly stop receiving sponsorship from Mercedes. And probably from all its other sponsors. I am sure you could make an argument.

That is, of course, if the world wished to be consistent. But of course it doesn’t. Why not? We all know why. Well, if we don’t here’s a clue: a large proportion of the people killed in Grenfell Tower were black.

While I was imagining writing this – it sounded a lot better in my imagination than it looks on the screen – I had an uneasy thought: the late Brian Micklethwait would not pen a post like this. I wondered why. I told myself that Brian would continue to ask “Why?” “Why do we get this very apparent hypocrisy?” To which I suppose the answer is that in anything involving black people a different standard is applied. “Why is that?” I imagined Brian asking. At which point I started to come to some rather dark conclusions. Which is something Brian liked to avoid. “Optimism is a tactic.” as he once said.

On reflection, I don’t think he would tackle this subject at all. He didn’t particularly like discussing identity politics even if he did once use the phrase, “woke nonsense.” He also didn’t tend to accuse people of hypocrisy. Well, at least not strangers. So, I don’t think he would have written about this even if there hadn’t been an identitarian dimension. If he had I think the title would have been something along the lines of “Why black people (and everybody else) should want freedom for themselves (and everybody else).”

Azeem Rafiq’s own racist tweets do not excuse the racism he suffered but the double standards are astonishing

On 16th November the UK press featured dozens of stories about the former cricket player Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to a Parliamentary committee about his experiences of racism, particularly when playing for Yorkshire. A typical story was this one from BBC Sport, “Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire cricket racism scandal – how we got here”

Surprisingly, that BBC report did not include what surely must be the most serious of the allegations Mr Rafiq made, that when he was fifteen and playing cricket at club level for Barnsley, he was pinned down by other players and had red wine poured down his throat. (He is a Muslim.) To hold someone down and force them to do something that they consider religiously forbidden, and in many cases something that also disgusts them, is an assault on their bodily integrity that ought to horrify anyone.

However it was widely covered elsewhere, as was every word of Mr Rafiq’s testimony to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing.

This Google search for mentions of “Azeem Rafiq” between 16th and 17th November shows how seriously his allegations were taken. “Azeem Rafiq’s testimony exposes how power works in cricket – and in Britain”, said the Guardian. Azeem Rafiq: ‘A trailblazer who has created a watershed moment’, said the BBC. Azeem Rafiq: Sport England could cut cricket funding after ‘wake-up call’, said the Times.

Though I do not believe that the government should fund sport at all, and I would prefer it if the horribly-named Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport did not exist, given that it does exist and does fund cricket I broadly agree: government money should not go to bodies that tolerate racism.

Well, that was the situation on the 17th. On the 18th it all fell apart.

Azeem Rafiq apologises for historical anti-Semitic Facebook messages said the BBC. The Times reported:

The Times has seen an exchange of messages that appear to have been sent ten years ago between Rafiq and the former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid. Sources believe they are discussing another Asian cricketer, at the time playing for Derbyshire, whom they seem to accuse of being reluctant to spend money on a meal out because “he is a jew”. Rafiq jokes that he will “probs go after my 2nds again ha . . . Only jews do tht sort of shit”.

Mr Rafiq was quick to apologise. The same Times article said,

Rafiq said: “I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today. I have gone back to check my account and it is me. I have absolutely no excuses. I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today. I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended.”

In most respects I think we should accept that apology. The business of excavating tweets made by sportsmen years ago has reached absurd lengths – the footballer Marc Bola was charged with “aggravated misconduct” by the Football Association for a tweet he made when he was fourteen.

But the double standards rankle. Mr Rafiq said, “I have gone back to check my account and it is me.” In other words, he had no memory of making that racist tweet in 2011. But if Mr Rafiq cannot remember what he himself tweeted in 2011 then should we not at least allow for the possibility of error in his memory of the racist remark that he says he remembers the former England captain Michael Vaughan making in 2009? Or if it turns out Mr Vaughan did make that remark (Vaughan denies it), should we not grant that Michael Vaughan might well be “a different person” after twelve years, just as Azeem Rafiq says that he is after ten?

More generally, the revelation that Mr Rafiq was exchanging racist banter with Ateeq Javid did not call forth anguished calls for reform from MPs and newspaper columnists. Apparently it did not reveal anything in particular about how power works in cricket, or in Britain. It was not a watershed moment, it was not a wake up call, and cricket’s government funding is not imperilled.

I am going to end by repeating what I said in the title of this post: Azeem Rafiq’s own racist tweets do not excuse the racism he suffered, particularly not the physical assault. But I agree with what Andrew Hills said in the most-recommended comment to that Times article:

I think it is important this has come out; wokeness creates the lie that there is the pure “righteous” group over here and the racists and the homophobes over there. Let’s punish them whilst we glory in our own greatness. The reality is that we are all screw ups, and we should be working together as a bunch of messed up people to make a better society for all.

Charged with sedition – for cheering the wrong side at cricket

Back in 1990 the Conservative MP Norman Tebbit got a lot of stick for his “cricket test”. Amateur. They play that game more seriously in India. The Hindustan Times reports,

‘Those celebrating Pak’s victory will face sedition case’: Yogi Adityanath

Chief minister [of the state of Uttar Pradesh] Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said that the sedition charges will be invoked against those celebrating Pakistan’s victory against India in the recent T20 World Cup match.

“Those celebrating Pakistan’s victory will face sedition,” a tweet posted on the official handle of Adityanath’s office said.

The Pakistan cricket team on Sunday defeated the Indian side by 10 wickets in a Super 12 game in Dubai for their first win in 13 attempts over their arch-rivals in a World Cup match.

A senior police official said a total of five cases were registered against seven people in Agra, Bareilly, Budaun and Sitapur for allegedly using indecent words against the Indian cricket team and celebrating Pakistan’s vicory. He said one case each was lodged in Agra, Budaun and Sitapur while two cases were registered in Bareilly’s Izzatnagar police station.

The three Kashmiri students were produced in the court of the special chief judicial magistrate on Thursday. The court sent them to 14 days’ judicial custody. “During the course of the investigation, section 124-A (sedition) was added against these three Kashmiri students,” said PK Singh, the inspector in charge of Jagdishpura police station.

The report continues,

In Budaun, the FIR was lodged under IPC section 124 A for sedition and section 66 of the IT Act against one person at the Faizganj Behta police station.

“Sedition charges should not be invoked in case of cheering in sports. No violence happened in these cases. England had been our bigger and worst enemy ever. But many times people in India do laud England’s team or players.”, said a Samajwadi Party leader on condition of anonymity

The (wisely) anonymous speaker may have been prompted to mention India’s relatively friendly cricketing relations with England by the fact that, as the article says, most of the accused were charged under the notorious Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. In 1922, Gandhi was imprisoned by the British under Section 124A and referred to it as the “prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen”. Ninety-nine years have gone by, seventy-four of them with India as an independent nation, and the prince remains in power.

Charged with ‘aggravated misconduct’. For a tweet he made when he was 14.

Here is an extract from the report in today’s Times:

The Middlesbrough defender Marc Bola has been charged by the FA [Football Association] with aggravated misconduct for comments he made on social media when he was 14, nine years ago.

The FA has alleged that Bola, now 23, who signed for Middlesbrough from Blackpool in 2019, posted a ‘reference to sexual orientation.’ He is facing a written warning, an education course or a potential three-game ban for the post from 2012.

An FA statement read: “Middlesbrough FC’s Marc Bola has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on April 14, 2012.

If, rather than mouthing off on Twitter, the fourteen year old Bola had had the forethought to instead commit a violent crime meriting up four years imprisonment, the sentence would have been considered “spent” by now under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

It’s only a bloody song

“‘Arrests expected’ over anti-Catholic singing by group of Rangers fans,” the BBC reports.

Police say they expect to make arrests after footage emerged appearing to show Rangers supporters singing a sectarian song before Sunday’s Old Firm game.

A video on social media showed a group being escorted by police through Glasgow city centre while chanting an anti-Irish song referencing the famine.

In case you are wondering – and you would need the mind of a robot not to wonder – the lyrics of what I think is the song being referred to can be read here. The refrain consists of variations of “Well, the famine is over/ Why don’t you go home?”

I suppose I ought to whizz through the background. Glasgow has two famous football teams, Celtic and Rangers, collectively known as The Old Firm. Celtic was traditionally the Catholic team, Rangers the Protestant. The “troubles” in Northern Ireland sometimes have spilled over to the streets of Glasgow, though usually the conflict there is fought with fists, not guns.

The BBC goes on to quote Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins as saying that anti-Irish Catholic behaviour is “wholly unacceptable” and that “appropriate action” would be taken.

I am from an Irish family and was raised Catholic. Though my beliefs have diverged from Catholicism somewhat, I still find myself defending the Church of Rome often, because it is often slandered. I do not think I would like these particular Rangers fans if I were to meet them and I am quite sure they would not like me. Nonetheless I have a suggestion for Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins: accept it. It’s only a song. The more socially acceptable “Irish Rebel Songs” that Celtic supporters sing back are also only songs. If you treat the singing of a rude song as akin to casting a dangerous spell then people will want to try this powerful magic.

Loosely related: I recommend this conversation between Brian Micklethwait and Patrick Crozier about Northern Ireland. Though Brian describes the conversation as “low key”, both of them are willing to speculate far outside the boundaries of permitted polite opinion.

Edit: A comment to this post by Paul Marks has reminded me of another post I did about football chants back in 2014: “Up the Yids!”

Three cheers for the European Super League!

Nothing official yet but it would appear that there are plans for a European Super League. Yes, I know you’re thinking, “Don’t we already have one of those?” Sort of, except that the Champions League is not a league let alone one of champions. This, on the other hand, would be a proper week-in, week-out competition to determine who – really – is the best team in the world.

Shockingly, some people don’t seem to like it. UEFA doesn’t like it. FIFA doesn’t like it. The British Government – you really would have thought that Boris Johnson would have bigger things on his mind right now – doesn’t like it. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “If *a**e*s like FIFA and the British government are against it, it must be a good thing.” And you know what? you are absolutely right. But there are other reasons to like it. What it means is that ordinary people will be able to watch the best football in the world on a weekly basis. It also means that the footballers who people actually want to watch will get their just rewards. In many ways it is just as revolutionary as the creation of the Premier League in 1993 or the creation of the world’s first league in 1888 or the decision to ban handling and kicking people in the shins. Frankly, it’s about bloody time.

Of course, it is bad news for rubbish teams. But who cares about them? As it happens, I do. I support one of them, well, when they’re not promoting communist thuggery (but that’s another story). But I don’t expect the world to be discombobulated just so I can watch them pulverise the best team on the planet every once in a while. I will still be able to support them – subject to semi-permanent Covid restrictions, of course. They’ll just have to cut their coat to suit their cloth that’s all. Who knows, maybe the competition will stir the game’s organisers to improve it. Perhaps, we’ll see an end to the ridiculous offside rule or sin-bins instead of bookings or even the re-introduction of handling and kicking people in the shins.

His offence is “failure to condemn”

“Tory George Eustice fails to condemn Millwall fans who booed players for taking the knee”, the Mirror reports.

A Tory Cabinet minister has failed to condemn Millwall fans who booed players for taking the knee in support of black people’s rights.

George Eustice said people who express a view on fighting racism should be “respected”, but stopped short of directly condemning the outburst at Millwall’s ground The Den yesterday.

Millwall FC today said it was “dismayed and saddened” after some fans booed players who briefly took the knee at the start of a match against Derby County.

The gesture has been followed by footballers up and down the country in solidarity with black people and the Black Lives Matter movement.

But Tory minister Mr Eustice today said Black Lives Matter was “actually a political movement” which is different to “standing up for racial equality.”

The Times report on the same story is behind a paywall, but the most interesting thing about it is not the report itself but the readers’ comments. An early version of the story was posted on the Times website last night. That version contained the words,

A cabinet minister has ignored majority opinion by describing Black Lives Matter as a “political movement”

Of the twenty most popular comments, ten questioned that now-vanished statement and all twenty supported Eustice. In fact one would have to scroll past a lot more than twenty before finding anyone who did not agree with Eustice. The twenty-first most popular comment was by someone going by the name of “Bogbrush” who asked, “Do all footballers now have to do this before every game, forever?”

Another commenter, “Middlesbrough Man”, said that, “Interestingly my team does not ‘take the knee’ on the recommendation of our captain, who recommends community action not political gestures”. Middlesbrough’s captain is Britt Assombalonga, who also plays for the national team of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Definitions of what is shameful differ

A human interest story from the Daily Record:

‘Kalashnikov councillor’ running for seat in Scottish Parliament after machine gun shame

A shamed politician – dubbed the Kalashnikov councillor after being captured on video coaching his young children how to use a machine gun – is campaigning for a seat in the Scottish Parliament.

Former SNP councillor Jahangir Hanif was forced to apologise after footage emerged of him training his young children to fire an AK-47 assault rifle during a visit to Pakistan.

The SNP condemned his “inappropriate conduct” and suspended him for two months while his his own daughter wrote to the party demanding his expulsion, claiming she had been terrified on the gun-toting trip.

On the ukpolitics subreddit, where I saw this story, a commenter called “ragnarspoonbrok” says,

No ear defenders isn’t a good start. Only one hand on the rifle as someone else is holding the fore grip. Rifle not shouldered correctly. No one has their eye anywhere near the sight meaning it’s not aimed correctly with their bugger hook on the bang switch.

It’s not a small caliber it’s a 7.62

Wouldn’t really class that as safe.

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?