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Saturday 1 July 2017

Aaron Bastani’s Lineker Own Goal

Among all the well-known people who have not been backwards in coming forwards to challenge the received wisdom of the right-leaning press recently, only one has made an impact so great that he’s had pundits and editors seriously worried: step forward Gary Lineker, former footballer and now lead host of BBC Match Of The Day.
Lineker’s support for the Beeb, and his genuine concern at the plight of those caught up in wars in the Middle East, earned him some serious abuse from the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. In addition, the Mail ran a plainly libellous - and easily disproved - hit job on him as a way of indicating that he had incurred the displeasure of the paper’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre.
Gary Lineker, let us not drive this one round the houses for too long, needs no lectures in standing up for decency, tolerance and inclusiveness against the bullying and general unpleasantness of the right-wing press establishment. But Aaron Bastani of Novara Media has decided he’s going to give him the lecture anyway.
Even before last month’s General Election, Bastani was on Lineker’s case, pontificating “Reminder that @GaryLineker can't moan about Tory govt if [he] isn't going to come out for Labour. We are going to change country, not just whinge”. Thus he missed the point completely: Lineker is not a party political campaigner, but someone well-known who speaks out on issues that concern him. The two do not necessarily go together.
This thought was clearly not allowed to enter, and when Lineker mused “Anyone else feel politically homeless? Everything seems far right or way left. Something sensibly centrist might appeal?” this was too much for the man from Novara Media. There followed a patronising diatribe introduced by a Tweet declaring “There's nothing 'way left' about decent pay, housing or services @GaryLineker”.
Two things here. One, he didn’t say that “decent pay, housing or services” were “way left”. And two, Bastani behaving like the arrogant and overbearing schoolteacher or boss who declares “I know what you’re really like” will gain his cause no disciples - but may provoke more than a little alienation. Bastani seems unable to comprehend that many who voted Labour last month did not do so out of ideological purity.
It was no surprise when an exasperated Lineker concluded “Jeez, so many people trying to guess what I think. Why are you so concerned? Most odd”, while my friend Dan Waddell had to point out the flaw in Bastani’s stance for him: “Lineker has done more to promote leftist views and common decency than Bastani ever has, among people who might never vote Labour”. Preaching only to the converted has its limitations.

Getting Labour into power will only come from appealing to sufficient voters to put it there. Talking down to the most high profile examples of those potential voters is unlikely to win them over. I’ll just leave that one there.


Anonymous said...

If Lineker's "way left" comment isn't directed at Corbyn what is it directed at?

Anonymous said...

Words...words...all is words.

Frankly, I couldn't give a shit what Lineker or Bastani say. I'll make my own mind up thank you very much.

Interesting, though, how the political terms "Left" and "Right" and even "Liberal" have been distorted for over a generation now. For example, far Right (almost neo Fascist) economics are routinely referred to as "neo Liberal", about as egregious a lie as you can get.

The fact is the whole political culture of this country has now been moved so far Right anything remotely social democratic (let alone Socialist) is instantly attacked as threateningly "radical". The political lexicon is adjusted accordingly. And an awful of of people are dopey enough to fall for it.

The consequences are all around you. Grenfell Tower is a symptom of it. So is New Labour. So is a tory party which gets more evil with each passing day.

Tim Christian said...

“Lineker has done more to promote leftist views and common decency than Bastani ever has, among people who might never vote Labour”

Well, then what's the point? It's not a very strong argument to state that Lineker has promoted leftist views if there's no material result from it, is there?

There seems to be a deliberate obtuseness in political commentary where Labour policies are described as far left (when they really, really aren't) and that "sensible" politics lies somewhere in the middle. People claim to support the same sort of progressive politics that Labour is offering, but shy away from actually supporting the party that offers them for some spurious notion of electability, or some unshakeable ingrained muscle memory, a Cold War hangover that socialism is somehow inherently bad.

I suspect (or at least hope) many progressive people, if challenged, would struggle to find much in the Labour manifesto they actually disagreed with, and when we're on the cusp of actually defeating a Tory government it's frustrating when people who should naturally be your allies are wringing their hands over the imagined extremism of the challenging party's views.

Lineker is in a position to have a sizable impact and it's precisely because he is seen as a credible progressive voice that it's important for him to be clear about what he's saying (and preferably come out in support of Labour 😊).

Anonymous said...

@Tim Christian.

The implication of your comment is...if there is no immediate material result to your opinion then it isn't worth voicing it.

Bit daft that, isn't it?

Most change takes time and a build up of consensus and consciousness. Original opinions almost always go against established mores and are attacked by those who have most to lose or cannot understand or are too afraid of change. Quite often it actually costs the opinionator his/her life.

Corbyn and McDonnell are currently engaged in building a consensus for change. This will inevitably attract enemies, some of them internal - as Umunna and 50 New Labour traitors showed in the last Commons vote, which will of course be supported by far right mainstream media. Whether Corbyn and McDonnell have enough staying power will be demonstrated in coming months. But at least they have made a very good start.

Lineker is an individual in public life making an opinion known, nothing more. So what?

AndyC said...

I see that Bastani bloke still seems to be living in a corrugated garden shed at best or a goods container at worst.

Anonymous said...

Aaron Bastani can be quite forthright and abrasive with his arguments but the fact of the matter is Lineker was insinuating that Labour is now way left which is not true. Way left is Communism in North Korea or Cuba. Corbyn's policies are similar to those in Scandinavian countries and on the issue of Brexit he proved to be politically astute pulling votes from Remainers and Brexiteers which is a tough balancing act.
On the point of political alternatives - Bastani was bang on. There are now clear distinctions between leftwing and rightwing parties, a party for Moderates (Lib Dems), a party for Scots who want independence (SNP), party pushing for more autonomy for Welsh people (Plaid Cymru) and a party focused on environmental and climate change concerns (Green Party). The centre-ground has (for now) gone into hiatus.The reason why is because centrism may once have looked like the way forward, but not anymore. Brexit and the EU aside, when the economic downturn occurred followed by austerity measures what answer did centrism offer other than maintaining a status quo where the rich or very rich are okay but everyone else was struggling or just about managing? Centrism in the UK led to less control of finance sector who in the end needed bailing out by the just about managing or struggling tax payers when the flopped in 2008. Would have been more impressive to see Lineker debate Bastani on what the why another centrist party is the answer rather than dismiss him.

rob said...

I think Lineker is giving his opinion is of equal value to anyone else who has an opinion and there are many who feel the way he does that a hard brexit will be a disaster for the UK and that there isn't a Party speaking up for the 48% (and rising) who feel the same way.

It is quite apparent that the Tories have been hijacked by Ukip (with/without DUP) thanks to Murdoch Mercer & Co and that Corbyn is a committed Hard Brexit fan albeit trying to appear softer to keep the remainers that voted for a hung parliament in line.

The fact that Lineker is attacked by left or right (mainly by brexiteers) is symptomatic of his cause for concern.

Anonymous said...

You dont understand the basics of twitter. Aaron Bastani was spot on.