Sugar: He’s probably not feeling too sweet right now.
I appear to have handed Lord Sugar his arse, without really trying.
He was on Twitter this morning (September 25), complaining about rubbish on the streets of Hackney. Here’s what he said and what I jotted off in response:
You supported successive Conservative governments that have cut council grants by 60%, meaning they had to cut back on services or go bankrupt. No, they couldn't have done it more cheaply; if private firms got a contract with a low tender, they'd have gone bust with work not done
“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: the malady seems to have spread from BBC news and is now affecting all its departments. But can the Corporation bow to public demand and restore its tattered claim to impartiality?
Who would have thought that one little tweet would rock the world’s biggest public service broadcaster to its foundations?
That’s what Gary Lineker seems to have done with this message:
He was referring, of course, to the language used by Suella Braverman when she introduced her silly Illegal Migration Bill to Parliament last week – and he was right.
Subsequently, we learned that the measures in the Bill, and the language around it, would be more appropriately compared to the UK’s own treatment of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930s – politicians of that time sent more than half a million back to Europe where an unknown number ended up being killed in extermination camps as part of the Holocaust.
Everybody should think very hard about that – and about the way politicians in both the Conservative Party and Labour condemned Mr Lineker and denied that the current Bill, or the way it was described, bore any resemblance to what happened in the 1930s.
The BBC reacted to Tory pressure the way it usually does – it caved in.
Mr Lineker was removed from his position as host of Match of the Day – and the Corporation lied about the circumstances. First we were told he was “stepping back” voluntarily until he could reach an agreement with the BBC over how he conducts himself on a social media account that is nothing to do with his employment and over which his employers should have no influence at all. Then we found out that he had been forced out.
And then the effluent hit the air conditioner.
Mr Lineker’s co-presenters on MOTD walked out in solidarity with him and everyone asked to be a possible stand-in host refused on principle.
Now, we are learning that sports coverage at the Beeb is suffering even more:
Presenters, pundits, commentators, players and another BBC football shows pulled….am sure no-one at BBC had any idea the decision to take Lineker off air would escalate as quickly or dramatically like this. And when crises do blow up like this, climb-downs become even harder…. https://t.co/BfyD9wHkwG
And the backlash has spread into other parts of the BBC.
Question Time, which actually discussed both the Illegal Migration Bill and Mr Lineker’s tweet about it, has come under fire after host Fiona Bruce played down the significance of Stanley Johnson beating his wife, in a discussion of his son Boris’s nomination of that man for a knighthood.
Here’s what she said (with apologies for the strong language used by the person tweeting it):
“Domestic abuse is never a ‘one off’, it is a pattern of behaviour that can manifest in a number of ways, including physical abuse. Domestic abuse is never acceptable.”
In a parallel with the BBC’s treatment of Mr Lineker, the charity said it had also been in talks with Ms Bruce: “She is appalled that any of her words have been understood as her minimising domestic violence. We know she is deeply upset that this has been triggering for survivors.
“Like the host of any BBC programme, when serious on-air allegations are made about someone, Fiona is obliged to put forward a right of reply from that person or their representatives, and that was what happened last night. These are not in any way Fiona’s own views about the situation.
“Fiona is deeply sorry that last night’s programme has distressed survivors of domestic abuse. Refuge stands by her and all survivors today.”
Sadly, the BBC did not see fit to support the charity’s assertion that Ms Bruce was “appalled” and “deeply sorry” for “triggering” and having “distressed” survivors.
Instead, it merely defended what happened on the programme: “When serious allegations are made on air against people or organisations, it is the job of BBC presenters to ensure that the context of those allegations – and any right of reply from the person or organisation – is given to the audience, and this is what Fiona Bruce was doing last night. She was not expressing any personal opinion about the situation.”
Not good enough.
A BBC decision not to broadcast an episode of Sir David Attenborough’s new series Wild Isles for fear that its its themes of the destruction of nature would risk a backlash from Tory politicians and the right wing press has provoked a huge backlash – not just from environmental groups but, again, from within the Corporation itself.
The sixth episode will appear only on BBC iPlayer. All six episodes were narrated by Attenborough, and made by the production company Silverback Films, which was responsible for previous series including Our Planet.
Chris Packham, presenter of Springwatch, told The Guardian: “At this time, in our fight to save the world’s biodiversity, it is irresponsible not to put that at the forefront of wildlife broadcasting.”
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “For the BBC to censor of one of the nation’s most informed and trusted voices on the nature and climate emergencies is nothing short of an unforgivable dereliction of its duty to public service broadcasting. This government has taken a wrecking ball to our environment – putting over 1,700 pieces of environmental legislation at risk, setting an air pollution target which is a decade too late, and neglecting the scandal of our sewage-filled waterways – which cannot go unexamined and unchallenged by the public.”
The Guardian added that “senior sources at the BBC [said] that the decision not to show the sixth episode was made to fend off potential critique from the political right.
Again, the BBC’s response was cowardly. The broadcaster claimed the six-part series was only ever intended to have five episodes: “Wild Isles is – and always was – a five part series and does not shy away from environmental content. We have acquired a separate film for iPlayer from the RSPB and WWF and Silverback Films about people working to preserve and restore the biodiversity of the British Isles.”
If this sixth film is part of a package of such films – a series, if you will – all made by the same organisations and narrated by the same person, and all to be available together on iPlayer, then it seems clear that it is an episode of that series and the BBC is again being economical with the truth.
This behaviour – and the decision over Mr Lineker – drew the following comment from economist Richard Murphy;
So, this afternoon the BBC gives in to fascists over Gary Lineker’s support for asylum seekers and on David Attenborough’s desire to highlight the impact of climate change. Fascism isn’t a threat. It is happening here and now, with the BBC enabling it.
Finally (for now), the BBC has faced a backlash against its continued employment of Lord Sugar on The Apprentice, whose own political tweets – particularly attacking former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – have gone unquestioned by the Corporation.
Mr Corbyn found an unlikely defender – on a BBC news programme – in Alastair Campbell. And the former New Labour press secretary didn’t pull his punches when referring to any of the scandals mentioned above:
Finally some honesty about the disgusting treatment Jeremy Corbyn received from figures at the BBC. And it’s coming from…Alistair Campbell. pic.twitter.com/sBhNOMFrIL
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
This Writer’s first instinct, on watching the clip, was that Sugar had bought into all the nonsense about Mr Corbyn, the Labour Party under him, and anti-Semitism (for the record, anti-Semitism in Labour was low when Mr Corbyn became leader and has diminished since; it is far more prevalent in right-wing parties like the Conservatives). But it seems I need not have worried as his words imply he was suggesting the economy would fall off a cliff.
And that’s odd – hasn’t he noticed what’s happening anyway, due to eight years of Tory failure – and Theresa May’s Brexit?
Lord Sugar spotted the Red Labour tweet and responded – and this is where the story really starts:
Sour grapes you bunch of jealous anti enterprise anarchist losers. You have not achieved anything in life but like to criticize those who have. I paid a personal tax bill last year of over £50m enough to build a hospital. You find the taxes in future I'm off #corbynouthttps://t.co/yHBeXat0BI
As for his tax bill – yes, very large, but does he not understand that many, many other citizens of the UK have been held back from reaching the higher pay grades that would make a higher tax bill possible, because of the repressive political philosophy championed by the Conservatives, which is about making the poor poorer and keeping all the privilege for those who already have it?
Is it any wonder the Twittersphere yelled at him? Check out these responses:
Alan Sugar enjoys labelling people who aren't rich as "losers" & "failures" however its those "losers" (whether cleaners, bus drivers, nurses etc…) who keep the country running and lets face it, they're far more valuable to society than Corporate-Oligarchs like Sugar
Bye. It's not sour grapes, btw. I've achieved a lot that I'm proud of in my life. A lot of which you can't count out in pounds. Who are you to judge other people's lives? You can't even practice basic courtesy, manners and a little good will.
Don't you dare claim that teachers and nurses and road builders and factory workers and farm labourers haven't achieved anything in life just because they haven't made skip loads of money. You wouldn't have made jack shit if it weren't for them, you selfish, shallow charlatan. https://t.co/slE1vfjYJC
If anyone complains about the spelling in the next one, you need to get a sense of perspective:
I am not a looser I am a woman who worked as a carer and spent many hours holding peoples hands as the passed away. I am a woman who became very ill and disabled and find myself in a horrific situation and my country doesn’t care. We need a country that cares and protects 😞
Work out the 50M as a proportion of your income, then do the same for the tax/income of your lowest paid employees and the penny might start to drop. Also, your money ain't built any hospitals, has it? So enough with that patter. In summary, ta ta.
"Money doth not maketh the man"……no jealousy here, just a grafter, not an anarchist either and most Def NOT a loser, and have achieved a lot in life, happiness fulfillment marriage children freinds love and a cycling proficiency badge (1977). Have you not left yet? #yourfired
Lord Sugar is a microcosm of what’s wrong with Tory Britain – a wealthy businessman who thinks he can say anything he wants without censure.
Only a few days ago, he deleted a disgusting tweet showing a photoshopped image of Jeremy Corbyn with Adolf Hitler – an appalling lapse of taste at a time when Mr Corbyn was facing false accusations of anti-Semitism.
Now Lord Sugar has compounded his crime by tweeting a perverse poem, again attacking Mr Corbyn.
Here’s the tweet. I’ve taken a screenshot rather than linking to the tweet itself, in case he deletes it:
Reactions have – of course – been overwhelmingly negative:
I don't remember anyone voting for you, Alan, let alone twice, and landslides at that, despite all attempts to stop his voters from being able to do just that. Do you ever stop to actually hear yourself? Any relation of yours by any chance? pic.twitter.com/UzZDxy8UkR
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