Some years ago in Britain, the right started waging its culture war in earnest.
My friends and I have debated this matter time and time again.
A good friend of mine blames the left for starting it, whereas I wholeheartedly blame the likes of Farage and Johnson. Whoever it was who kicked it off, the right have fought it with relish and are largely ascendant.
They turn their guns on everyone who even questions their appalling world view.
The latest person to find his or herself in the gunsights of these deplorable people is Gary Lineker for daring to suggest that the hateful language used by this government to talk about immigrants has echoes of that which Hitler was using in the early 30’s.
It barely needs pointing out that this is essentially correct.
So for telling the truth this man has been subjected to abysmal personal attacks and those on the right are demanding that the BBC sack him. They announced that they would be “having a word” with him. Unless what they say amounts to a promise to have his back they would be acting like base cowards.
The BBC should be willing to stand up for its people, especially when all they’ve done is tell the truth.
Here in Scotland they threw Michael Stewart to the wolves when The Peepul went bonkers over his comments about the clownish Jim Traynor, and was seen to be attacking their club, and they basically issued a grovelling apology to Ibrox over the Chris McLaughlin saga even though they were entirely in the right and backed down … so we know that the national broadcaster is hardly made of strong stuff up here. In England they simply must show more balls and hold firm.
The right does not have a monopoly on outrage and it is possible to stand up to these people and win.
Lineker is right to be angry at the shocking way the government has attempted to frame the debate over immigration. Our country, which preaches the rule of law and about western values when it contrasts itself with Russia has effectively closed its doors to people fleeing war and disaster (some of which we helped create) and may be in violation of international treaties.
So he’s right to be pissed and he’s right to express it.
But the mad-dogs are coming for him as though he had said something beyond the pale. He continues to stand by his comments and the BBC must too. It must respect his right to free expression, especially when what he has said is essentially true. And it must prove that these people can be successfully resisted.
And they can, and we know it better than anyone because for a period of time last year, after the death of the Queen, they were turning their guns on our club for a list of perceived slights against the monarchy and their pretend version of values.
Our club even – shock horror! – refused to condemn its own fans because they expressed a view these cretins did not like. All the while they talked about the things “this country stands for.”
Freedom of expression clearly isn’t one of them.
Not when it conflicts with what they believe or what they want to hear. These people have browbeat so many organisations and individuals down through the years. They clearly thought it would work on Celtic.
We resisted. We gave them nothing.
Our silence radiated our contempt for those vile third rate commentators and gutter politicians whose entire existence is predicated on sewing hatred and division, and whose hypocrisy is not even that well disguised.
We endured. Of course. Because at the end of the day when you stand tall against these people they shriek and point their fat fingers and hop around in outrage, but ultimately have nothing to threaten you with.
They are bullies and they are cowards and the BBC should not give them a damned inch. They should stand by their man, because he deserves it. Because it’s the right thing to today, tomorrow and forever.
And because giving these people any kind of win at all makes them come back for more.
Give them nothing and stop them in their tracks.