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Sunday 17 December 2023

Gary Lineker And Gibbgate

Showing humanity and empathy has suddenly become the means by which the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press runs a series of deeply righteous and hostile front page stories. That is because the person showing that humanity and empathy is Match of the Day lead presenter Gary Lineker. What is less clear is that this is classic deflection, a dead cat story.

It's not about him, but ...

Lineker tweaking the tail of deeply unpleasant Tory MP Jonathan Gullis is hardly a major social media event. But the need to present anything BBC related as “rich luvvie presenters meddling in politics” has inflated the story, and continues to do so. The latest lame attempt to reheat the attacks came today from another singularly unpleasant politician, Oliver Dowden.

For some reason, Dowden is now Deputy Prime Minister, which is by itself a frightening prospect. He told Sky News this morning that Lineker should keep out of politics, telling “People should swim in their own lane”. Author and teacher Paul Goldsmith summed up the response of many voters to that.

My lane is the state of my street. My lane is the quality of my children’s education. My lane is the ability of the NHS to function. My lane is homelessness. My lane is inequality. My lane is freedom of speech. My lane is foreign policy … Politics is everyone’s lane”. Tories and their press pals snarking at someone not breaking any rules will get them nowhere. So why are they doing it? Ah well. Let’s look elsewhere within the BBC.

When the Corporation’s new chair, Samir Shah, was quizzed on the exchanges last week, he “told MPs that ‘on the face of it’ Lineker had broken the corporation’s social media guidelines”. What Shah was also quizzed about, but has not been widely reported, was a little matter revealed by (yes, it’s her again) now former MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries.

Her recent book contains this passage (which has been legalled): “I had been aware that Robbie [Gibb] was closely linked to Dougie [Smith’s] wife Munira [Mirza]. Indeed, I had been summoned to meet with them both in Number 10 when I was Secretary of State, without a set agenda or anyone taking minutes”. Have a think about that. And there was more.

... oh, look who's here

Robbie spent the meeting trying to persuade me to appoint Lord Stephen Gilbert as head of Ofcom. Gilbert is a very long-standing party apparatchik who has worked from within Central Office for as long as I can remember”. Jake Kanter of Deadline found “a source who worked closely with her at the DCMS”, and who said she was, on this occasion, correct.

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger added “No-one - not Gibb, Mirza, Dougie Smith, the BBC, the DCMS or No. 10 - has denied this happened. So I think we can assume it did”. Gibb has previous for sticking his bugle in, notablyhow an investigation into Leave EU targeting the far right by the BBC was then dropped after [Leave EU] complained about it [to him]”.

SNP MP John Nicolson was one of those grilling Samir Shah, and he did not find his answers convincing. “I like Samir Shah personally. But his refusal to answer basic questions on probity was ill judged. Eg. ‘Is it ethical for BBC Board members to try to influence the appointment of Chair of independent media regulator [Ofcom]?’ Answer should have been ‘no.’

Rusbridger, meanwhile, has toldI've written to the BBC Chair-elect, Samir Shah, about his promise to [Kevin Brennan] and [John Nicolson] to inquire about Sir Robbie Gibb”, later addingThe all-party committee vetting Samir Shah’s appt as BBC Chair seems to have been underwhelmed by his answers on, among other things, #Gibbgate. They want him back in the new year to try again”. So why does the right-wing press shield Gibb?

Simples. Gibb, who, I’ve been told, has difficulty seeing anything from other than a Tory HQ perspective, is the acceptable face of the Beeb: anonymous, rabid Brexiteer, has no trouble being seen at Tufton Street events, and with apparent plausible deniability, working behind the scenes for the Tories.

But now he’s been rumbled. Which means it’s Gary Lineker’s fault.

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Anonymous said...

And so it goes on, politics and media hand-in-hand even further to the far right. Any target will do, even some of their own suited-up guttersnipes who might get slightly off-message.

A one party state, rotten to the core with Micawber apathy and I'm Alright Jacks. The stink of moral and financial corruption smothering what remains of its society.

A nation that simply doesn't care about human decency.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

On the sixth day of Christmas, Anonymous sent to me:

Six suited-up guttersnipes
Five Gnome Counties Micawbers
Four cockney barrow boys
Three Quiffed Quislings
Two cheeks on the same arsehole
And an urfascist in a pear tree