There is nothing whatsoever the BBC can salvage from the Gary Lineker debacle. The Director General, a puffed up title straight out of Gilbert and Sullivan, does not have a shred of authority left following his climbdown in the face of an arrogant footballer and his ‘nonentity’ (quoting The Times) cronies.
Tim Davie, who stepped down Lineker on Friday, bizarrely accompanied by a fawning video interview praising him to the gods, reversed his decision on Monday. Basically, the DG said he had come over to Lineker’s view on impartiality and normal service was resumed.
Lineker’s sanctimonious response may have been a result of his diligent study of 1930s propaganda following the weekend antics of his mediocre minions: ‘However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away.
It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.’ And Lineker, the now de facto editor-in-chief of the BBC, thanked the DG for his empathy - ‘I’m delighted we’ll continue to fight the good fight together.’
The pompous drivel pouring out of the mouths of the two of them would grace any football show but none of it is worth a penny of the licence fee, the draconian tax paying both their inflated salaries. Today we challenge the DG to live up to one of the carefully scripted assertions made as part of his climbdown: ‘The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression.’
The first, impartiality, we already know is an impossibility, as demonstrated on a daily basis by the BBC not just in the case of Lineker. However the commitment to freedom of expression can be realised. Davie and the BBC board should immediately declare that the BBC will transition to a voluntary subscription to remove the Soviet style tax on citizens that currently suppresses their freedom of expression forcing them to pay for media and news they do not want to consume.
Naturally the usual Tory MP suspects, led by another relic of the past Jacob Rees-Mogg, are clamouring for the end of the licence fee. This is not a right wing or Brexiteer cause and that Tory rabble, together with the Labour luvvies, confuse matters by turning every media issue into a party political war.
The point is simply that the public must have the right to choose - and the licence fee should not be allowed to continue until 2027 all the while suppressing diversity as it enters its self-inflicted death throes. The BBC has targeted commercial publishers and independent journalism using those funds to boost its online content in order to stifle competition.
If the BBC will not voluntarily and immediately act to change its funding model and limit its remit to stop its anti-competitive behaviour then the Government should act. Apart from anything else abolishing the licence fee is certain to score a few votes.