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The Great Game of Politics, Part 2

I’m self-employed. Freelance and proud of it. I know that when an organisation employs me to do a job, they will expect me to adhere to the values and intentions of that organisation for as long as my contract (verbal or written) lasts.

I respect that, and I’m consequently careful who I choose to work with. But being employed - in a full-time or freelance capacity - does not prohibit me from having a private opinion, and expressing that opinion in an appropriate channel.

This is an appropriate channel. I can write what I damn well like in a blog of my own creation. Facebook is also an appropriate channel for opinion. And so is Twitter.

If I were to be banned from expressing private opinion by an organisation to which I was contracted, I would consider it a kind of enslavement.

So here’s Gary Lineker, expressing a private opinion in words that were carefully chosen. In his Twitter post, he suggested that the language used by our current government in respect of the migrant boats was ‘not dissimilar’ to that used in Germany in the 1930s.

Please note: he was comparing the language used, not the government of the day.

Please note: similar is not ‘the same as’. ‘Not dissimilar’ is even less specific.

Language matters, Lineker was tuned into it, and he was merely expressing a private opinion using a private channel. You could argue that Twitter is not private, but neither is it governed by the BBC. Or the Government.

Gary Lineker did what millions of us do every day: he reacted angrily, as a humanitarian, to a Government policy he considered immeasurably cruel.

If you disagree with that, you can use Twitter too. It’s called freedom of speech. It has nothing to do with his employed output on the BBC.

Gary Lineker is not a BBC slave. Nor are Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Alex Scott, and even Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson. Unless they’re locked into cast-iron contracts that force them to adhere to an employer’s published values and objectives, they are free to say what they like.

Just like me, in this blogpost. You can disagree with me, but you’re going to have to back that up with reasoned argument. And you’re going to have to be as careful with your language as Gary Lineker.

That’s unlike the language used by our Home Secretary and her underlings, who use a privileged position in the House of Commons to throw out red meat like ‘invasion’ and ‘100 million displaced people coming here’ on a regular basis, simply because it’s their latest move in the Great Game of Politics.

They want your votes. They’re that selfish. And they don’t give a damn where all this is leading.

Photo Jack Taylor/Getty

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