Monday 13 March 2023

Beyond awful

It is unfortunate that most of the media’s reporting of the banning of Gary Lineker from the BBC has centred around his allusion to the “language used by Germany in the 1930s” rather than his actual description of the government’s policy on asylum seekers as: “Beyond awful. . . an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people.” This has enabled Tory mouthpieces to distract attention from the actual policy and criticism by cries of foul, unfair, a gross exaggeration etc.” Tory perception management never misses an opportunity. It is hugely encouraging that the “sporting fraternity and sorority” have massed around Mr Lineker in support and the BBC has been forced to abandon its flagship sports programme in its usual form. Well done to them for for standing up for common decency when our politicians haven’t dared. I hope that when the fuss has died down it is the description of the policy which stays in the public mind rather than the distraction of Germany. Gary Lineker has done us a favour. In thirteen years of mean, selfish and incompetent government encompassing the bedroom tax, the cut in overseas aid, the “test and trace” shambles, government procurement via a VIP line of "mates," the illegal prorogation of parliament, and “partygate,” to name but some, we critics have exhausted our lexicon of descriptions: unbelievable, shambolic, bizarre, beyond belief, incomprehensible, cruel, inhumane .. . . So thanks, Mr Lineker, for another string to our bow. I hope “beyond awful” will in future be prefixed to every mention of this Conservative government, and their trademark populist policies, until they are ousted. Maybe it will even live on in history. To help foreign correspondents, in the languages in which I have a smattering “beyond awful” is , in French “ au delà d’horrible”; German, “überaus schrecklich”; Italian “oltre terribile;” Chichewa,” kupitirira zoopsa” and neo- Melanesian, ” long hap nogut.”

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