The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has run several attack pieces on former footballer and Match Of The Day lead presenter Gary Lineker in recent weeks, due to his being of independent mind, exercising his right to free speech, and showing compassion for those less fortunate than himself. For the Vagina Monologue, such ideas serve only to displease him. And so another hatchet job has been ordered.
What the f***'s wrong with putting the boot into whoever I want, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
We know this as the article has the name of Guy Adams on its by-line, which is roughly equivalent to confirming that Dacre personally ordered the hit. And what Adams serves up is equally predictable, in its sneering and judgmental tone: “From the moral high ground that Gary Lineker so resolutely occupies, he enjoys a crystal clear view of world affairs”. Someone expressing his opinion is “occupying the moral high ground”.
It gets worse: “Like all Lineker’s forays into public affairs, the remarks were met with great approval in the realm of social media, where he has accumulated more than 5.5 million followers on Twitter and another 400,000 on Instagram”. What’s wrong with social media?
As if you need to ask. Sneer alert once more: “Here, in the smug echo chamber of woolly liberalism, his Left-wing take on global politics has helped the former England footballer burnish his credentials as a trusted and popular TV icon”. Newspaper that claims to go in to bat for Christians smears Christian values as “left-wing”.
And the New York Times has run an article about him, which is just too much. Adams sneers “Naturally, the New York Times article … pleased its subject a great deal. He duly flagged it on Twitter”. Oooh, he didn’t ask Dacre’s permission first! What a naughty boy!
But there’s more about the NYT: “Yet one important area of Lineker’s life was curiously absent from this hagiographic piece of journalism (written, it should be noted, by an Establishment newspaper which has a dog in Lineker’s fights, having been humbled by the Trump phenomenon)”. Establishment newspaper tries calling establishment newspaper on another publication, merely because it doesn’t share the Mail’s piss-poor standards.
Note also that the Mail peddles the Trump administration’s lies that they NYT has somehow been “humbled”. It hasn’t: the paper’s subscription base has never been stronger. It is in rude financial health. But what’s that “one important area”?
“For dig behind the façade of national hero Gary Lineker, and you will very quickly discover that this budding member of the liberal commentariat has for many years taken a - shall we say - robust approach to his personal finances”. Christ on a bike, can’t Adams switch off the righteous and judgmental sneering just for a moment? But do go on.
“Records show that Lineker is, or has been, a member of a series of so-called ‘limited liability partnerships’ (LLPs) … each was deliberately designed to allow wealthy individuals - such as Lineker, this great champion of equality [keep sneering, Guy] to avoid paying the same rates of tax on their income as the man or woman in the street … A major attraction … was the belief they would be able to keep thousands, sometimes millions, of pounds from the taxman’s grasp … In some cases, they expected to initially pay just a few per cent of tax on income, or defer income tax for many years”.
And how much tax has Lineker avoided and/or deferred? Readers don’t get to find that out. But they are told that he moves in “gilded circles”. And there is criticism from two Tory MPs, rent-a-bigot David T C Davies, and not very smart Alec Shelbrooke. Zelo Street regulars may find these two names familiar in Lineker’s context.
That is because Davies and Shelbrooke were the two who the Murdoch Sun turned to last October to back its attack on Lineker. The Sun had claimed that Lineker was “peddling migrant lies”, which he was not. The paper had been taking a rabidly xenophobic stance on child refugees being allowed to join family members in the UK.
And then, all that is left is for Adams to do the equivalent of leaving his foot in the tackle as he sneeringly claims that Lineker is a “member of the Left-wing establishment” before eventually admitting “Sources close to him, however, stressed that his tax reporting to HMRC is fully up to date and all known tax liabilities have been settled in full” before claiming Lineker “is prone to using lawyers to muzzle coverage of his colourful love life”.
Oh, and he’s a “sanctimonious member of the liberal elite” who “continues to air his political views from that smug moral high ground”.
So let’s put this directly: the Mail has nothing on Gary Lineker. Not a bean.
There is no evidence of any tax avoidance, or indeed any financial impropriety.
Worse, for the Mail - a paper run out of a Bermuda based offshore entity, and owned by a “non dom” - to call tax avoidance on anyone is a bit rich.
For Paul Dacre, trousering a salary of well over a million a year, with property in Belgravia, a mansion in the Home Counties, and a Scottish estate, to call “gilded circles” on anyone is the most rank of hypocrisy.
All that the Mail is whinging about is that its previous attacks on Lineker have failed. This one will also fail. The paper cannot accept that the right to free speech and independent thought is universal, and might mean others do not agree with Dacre’s rabid, intolerant, judgmental, authoritarian and utterly selfish views.
The final confirmation that Dacre’s personally ordered hatchet job had bit the dust came earlier today when Lineker tweeted simply “I will continue to speak up for refugees and immigrants and British values of tolerance and free speech. I won't be bullied”. The overwhelming majority of responses were positive.
Paul Dacre needs to understand that his bullying remit does not extend as far as he thinks. He has lost this fight. So the net hit job will be pointless. On your way, Vagina Monologue.