Sunday Best Vol. 01 | No. 09

Driven to distraction

Sunday Best Vol. 01 | No. 9: Driven to distraction

The Issue

Unless you live in Britain, you’re likely not familiar with the name Gary Lineker. Lineker is a well-known professional English footballer who had a successful club and international career from 1980 through to the early 90s. He also is the host of a weekly Premier League round-up program broadcast on the BBC, the much beloved Match of the Day. Lineker has established left leaning political views which he often shares on his social media channels. He is a contractor for the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), which is funded by the public via an annual television licence fee. As the BBC is a publicly funded institution, Lineker is subject the BBC’s editorial guidelines which require impartiality on political issues.

Sunday Best Vol. 01 | No. 9: Driven to distraction
Gary Lineker

If you are seeing Lineker’s name in the news lately, it is because he was suspended from hosting the aforementioned Match of the Day over a tweet critising the conservative government’s rhetoric on immigration. The whole saga has set off a national debate in the UK over free expression, government influence over a public broadcaster, and the future of the BBC in an era of polarised politics and social media.

The truth of the matter is that Mr Lineker had a valid criticism of a controversial government bill on immigration and the conservative government, with what would seem the aid of the BBC, which ramped up the issue into a full-scale crisis. The British public must be becoming increasingly fatigued by the frankly transparent diversionary tactics employed by the government not to address the real issues that have taken root in Britain: massive economic inequalities, economic fallout from Brexit and falling productivity. The playbook is generally that whenever a new budget or any kind of election is coming up, a diversion is created by playing the immigration card. Here are the general steps involved:

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A crisis is created, with facts being skewed and statistics taken out of context. The problem is represented as the most urgent problem that needs an immediate remedy.

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Control the media through press releases and social media propaganda. In the Lineker case, the government may have overstepped the mark by leaning on a public broadcaster for its own political agenda. Ultimately, Lineker may be looking at his legal options.

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Scapegoating: migrants are always a great target for governments to demonise, portraying them as a threat to society.

Divide and conquer: the distraction issue has to be a hot button issue or have an emotional pull that forces people to take a side. Sometimes issues like migration are a useful distraction, as some will empathise with these people’s plight, while others will respond with fear and view the issue as a threat.

Misdirection: in this case, the migration bill was the distraction from the UK’s economic woes, while Gary Lineker’s suspension from the BBC was the misdirection. In the end, the debate was shifted away from both immigration and the economy, and the focus was placed on a television presenter and his comments.

On March 15th, the chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver the 2023 UK Budget. As mentioned before, UK productivity has plummeted, meaning tax revenue is down. This likely means that the government will have to make some unpopular decisions, most likely raising taxes for people who can least afford it. Magically, as quickly as the circus around the BBC and Gary Lineker arrived, it will be gone again once the budget is delivered.

Further Reading

The Observer View On The Global Refugee Crisis – An honest look at the UK policy on the global refugee crisis, and what strategies could be put in place to help the situation.

Spiraling Dispute With Star Host Puts BBC’s Reputation On The Line – Outside looking in, sometimes the best coverage comes from a neutral source, and The New York Times does a great job of breaking down all the issues here.

Why Poverty Persists In America – An important article that focusses on the American experience, while transcending countries with some truths on the larger systematic issues that contribute to poverty.



Generally, the idea of the 15 minute city is that everything you need should be within a 15-minute walk, which makes life less stressful by reducing commutes as well as improving liveability and sustainability. This is an idea we have adopted in our new series, Moving To, which features off the beaten path towns and cities that offer an exceptional quality of living, while adhering to the principles of the 15 minute city. So far, we have covered Versailles, France and Toledo, Spain. Look out for Como, Italy coming this week.

Last week on Sunday Best Vol. 01 | No. 08, we looked at ChatGPT, both positive and negative aspects. Further to this discussion was a fascinating article by Noam Chomsky evaluating if AI has the capacity for true intelligence.

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Khotin – Release Spirit

Dylan Khotin-Foote, or simply Khotin, is a Canadian musician blending elements of house, techno, and lo-fi electronica with ambient textures such as field recordings. The feel on Release Spirit is playful and nostalgic with a dreamy quality. The album starts out languid and muffled with low-pass filters and washed-out synth pads, before moving into more experimental bittersweet dream pop territory.

Listen to the album on your favourite streaming platform.

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Enjoy your Sunday, wherever you are.