Sant Gaz is at it again. The famed Twitter Saint and selfelected MP for Virtue Signalling has this time got into hot water for reposting a statement on X calling for Israel to be suspended from global sporting bodies, including Fifa and the International Olympic Committee, due to the conflict in Gaza. The repost, now deleted, was from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, a group long dedicated to the cancellation of Israel.
Now a Hamas-affiliated news agency has lavished praise on the “renowned English broadcaster”, as once again the BBC’s highest-paid presenter — who burnishes his image freelancing on X as the moral voice of the nation — has caused the corporation considerable embarrassment.
It’s hard not to wonder why the broadcaster’s most famous presenter is allowed to single-handedly trash its 100-year commitment to political impartiality. From the migrant crisis to Shamima Begum, from Brexit to branding the US “extraordinarily racist”, there appears to be no culture war he is not comfortable wading into with his painfully predictable opinions in a flagrant breach of the spirit of the beloved BBC.
Why does the corporation allow its hallowed reputation to be besmirched because a man most famous as a football player, a pundit and someone who made a lot of money advertising crisps in an obesity crisis wants to bestow upon us his not very illuminating opinions?
Taking aside the fact that it is inappropriate he comments at all, and apart from his latest excruciating endorsement, there are other questions around Gary Lineker’s coverage of the Gaza war on social media. Why was he so uncharacteristically quiet, for example, when 1,200 Jews were murdered by Hamas, when women were raped, babies burned and some 240 hostages taken.
And, of course, like a lot of slebs, it seems to me that Lineker, pictured, is an arch-hypocrite who talks Left but often lives Right. Although he was an outspoken critic of the 2022 Qatar World Cup on human rights grounds, Lineker had previously earned £1.6 million while working for the Gulf state’s sports broadcaster between 2009 and 2013.
Despite caring so deeply for refugees, Lineker didn’t want his beloved children educated alongside them. Far from it — all four were educated at elite boarding schools. Hilariously, in 2010 when his eldest, George, who attended Charterhouse (where fees are now £47,000 a year) didn’t get into university, Lineker publicly shamed the school for his poor grades. The headmaster hit back that he was delighted with his pupils’ results and wouldn’t comment on individual cases.
George was more explicit about his alma mater on his Facebook page, saying: “Didn’t get into uni... cheers school u massive knobbers!”
Since retiring from football, Lineker is believed to have amassed a £30 million fortune. Good luck to him, I say. I applaud anyone who makes a success of their lives, it’s the moralising and double standards I can’t abide.
Most recently he has deservedly enjoyed considerable success with his company Goalhanger (now the UK’s leading podcast firm, boasting The Rest is History and The Rest is Politics). As he is so rich and cares so deeply about social justice issues, you might presume he has always been keen to pay as much tax as possible.
Maybe, maybe not. Last year he was exonerated in the courts after he won his battle with HMRC over a £4.9 million tax bill. The tax authorities argued that he should have been treated as a BBC employee — and therefore paid more tax — rather than charging the BBC as a freelancer.
It wasn’t the first time uncomfortable questions had been asked of Sir Social Justice Warrior about his tax affairs.
In 2017, the Panama Papers revealed that he had bought his vast Barbados pile using an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands, which meant he was able to pay less tax when he sold it. Lineker’s representatives said there had been “no tax irregularity”.
They said the sale had been declared to HMRC and all taxes due in the UK and abroad on the sale of the company had been paid in full.
What I can’t understand is Lineker’s motivation for seemingly wanting to be the nation’s moral arbiter. If he is the universally adored moraliser of modern Britain, then that’s one thing if he is definitely a wonderful person. But I’m not certain he is.