After Illegal Migration Bill row, Gary Lineker is now a national treasure in Scotland as well as England – Angus Robertson
Having stood his ground against senior BBC management over his right to post on social media, the corporation has had to cave in with a humiliating statement, Lineker’s reinstatement as a Match of the Day presenter and a review of BBC social media guidance.
After years allowing a series of BBC presenters to share their outspoken right-wing views online, BBC managers decided to crackdown on Lineker after he tweeted about the UK Tory government’s controversial immigration bill.
In one of the biggest-ever managerial miscalculations in the history of the corporation, they took him off air, leading to public opprobrium and a mass boycott by BBC sports presenters in solidarity. The whole sorry situation hopelessly exposes a series of senior BBC management appointees with Tory party connections, not least its Chairman Richard Sharp, who failed to properly declare details of his role in facilitating a £800,000 loan guarantee for the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson. If the BBC thinks it can restore any confidence in the impartiality of its senior management without personnel changes, they are sorely mistaken.
The last word should go to Gary Lineker, who said: “A final thought: 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.”
Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary