Opinion

Gary Lineker is the final nail in the BBC's coffin and I won't be renewing my licence fee

Gary Lineker's suspension shows the BBC's Tim Davie is committed to his own brand of impartiality, writes Rose Morelli.

BBC Director General Tim Davie speaks at the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) annual conference at the Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham on November 22, 2022. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

I was starting to worry the BBC wasn’t actually committed to impartiality, but suspending Gary Lineker for criticising the government has put that idea to bed. I can’t wait to hear how former Conservative candidate and current BBC Director General Tim Davie plans to stomp out any further issues of overt partisanship.

Davie, champion of neutrality and protector of democracy is, once again, on manoeuvres against public protest and political controversy among BBC staff. “If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC,” Davie told staff in 2020, ignoring Laura Kuenssberg as she argued on behalf of a source she promised wasn’t Dominic Cummings.

There’s an ongoing battle against partisanship at the BBC, and Davie picks his targets well: partisanship, for example, like the haranguing of Mick Lynch by Lord Alan Sugar throughout the 2022 RMT strikes. Many argued that it breached the BBC’s core value of impartiality and Davie boldly took action against Sugar this year, bravely allowing him to continue presenting The Apprentice.

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In this era of declining public trust and Conservative Party paymasters, it’s clear that Davie knows who REALLY needs reigning in: that pundit bloke from Match Of The Day who dares to think we should treat refugees with respect. Not Question Time presenter and Refuge ambassador Fiona Bruce, whose public defence of Boris Johnson’s dad included dismissing domestic abuse  as “a one-off”. For the record, Stanely Johnson left his wife in hospital with a broken nose – but, as everyone knows, domestic violence only counts if it happens twice.

Lineker’s forced departure should be good news to anyone who’s been worried about misinformation and the decline of fair democracy in UK media. It’s all part of Davie’s intensely democratic ploy to redefine what neutrality or corruption actually mean. Neutrality, for example, now generously includes whatever viewpoint supports the interests of the current Conservative government and appointing a chairman in Richard Sharp, as long as he can manage his workload alongside acting as Boris Johnson’s £800,000 sugar daddy.

Naturally, the BBC has a reputation for always doing the right thing and rooting out corruption and abuse of power within its ranks. Davie has taken that reputation in his stride, and is serious about addressing the power-hungry media lefties who abuse their position by holding a spiralling government to account or using their right to public protest and freedom of assembly. This is a man who takes abuse of power seriously, so proven when he green-lit a four-part dramatisation of the crimes of Jimmy Savile. The cries of “our trauma is not your entertainment” from sexual abuse survivors have so far fallen on deaf ears. 

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So, frankly, as much as I’ve enjoyed funding the BBC’s little experiment with impartiality, I feel my money is now probably better placed elsewhere. While £159 a year is, undeniably, excellent value for money when it comes to furnishing a new propaganda wing of the Conservative state, I’m unfortunately already drowning in bills for all the avocados and streaming subscriptions I buy. Besides – if they’re going to suppress David Attenborough for the sake of not upsetting climate change deniers, I’ll happily watch his content on whatever streaming platform he inevitably shifts to instead. Hopefully it’s Netflix.

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