Blood Sport: The BBC vs the Tories

Simon Pearson says it's a classic case of power versus principle, and the stakes have never been higher. In the end, it's not just about football - it's about the very soul of our democracy.


The BBC. It’s a monolithic, behemoth of an institution that looms over the British media landscape like a colossus. It’s a television network, a radio station, a news outlet, a website, a cultural touchstone, a national treasure. And it’s constantly under attack by the Conservative Party.

They call it the “Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation.” They accuse it of being a nest of pinko commies. They say it’s biased towards the left wing. They say it’s full of tree-huggers and anti-racists and bleeding-heart liberals.

It’s a strange accusation, given that the BBC is one of the most respected and trusted news organisations in the world. But the Tories don’t care about that. They just see a big, fat target that they can take shots at.

And they’ve been taking shots for years. Every time the BBC runs a story that’s critical of the government, the Conservatives pounce. They accuse the BBC of being unbalanced, of being unfair, of being untrustworthy. They demand that the corporation be reformed, or even abolished.

It’s a classic case of shooting the messenger. The BBC is just doing its job – reporting the news, asking tough questions, holding those in power accountable. But the Tories don’t like that. They want a compliant media that will do their bidding. And they see the BBC as a thorn in their side.

But the thing is, the BBC isn’t perfect. It has made mistakes. It has been accused of bias in the past. It’s not immune to criticism. But the Tories’ attacks on the BBC go far beyond legitimate criticism. They’re part of a larger strategy to undermine the institution and weaken its influence.

And that’s a dangerous game to play. The BBC is an important part of the UK’s democracy and public life. It provides vital information to the public, and it helps to shape public opinion. Without it, the country would be a poorer place.

So why attack it? Why try to tear it down? The answer is simple: power. The Tories want to be in power, and they want to stay in power. And they see the BBC as a threat to that power. They want to control the narrative, to shape the public discourse, to silence dissenting voices.

But they can’t do that. Not without a fight. The BBC may be under attack, but it’s not going down without a fight. Its journalists and presenters are some of the best in the business. They’re tough, they’re tenacious, and they’re not afraid to ask the tough questions.

Gary Lineker: sports journalist, national treasure, and the latest victim of the Tory’s campaign of fear and intimidation. He’s a man who knows how to score a goal or two, both on and off the pitch. But now, the Tories have targeted him for his outspoken views on politics, his solidarity with migrants, and his scathing criticisms of their party. They’ve accused him of violating the BBC’s impartiality guidelines, for calling out the illegal migrants bill as a little bit NAZI, well it is, and they’re now trying to silence him. It’s a dangerous game, and Lineker is just the latest casualty. But he’s not going down without a fight. He’s a man of principle, a man of conviction, and a man who refuses to be cowed by the Tories’ thuggery. And that’s why we need more people like him in the media. People who are willing to speak truth to power, no matter the cost.

Picture this: a Saturday night, the sound of that whistle pierces the air like a shot fired from a starting pistol. It’s the sound we’ve been waiting for all week, the sound of Match of the Day. And as that iconic theme tune starts to play, you can feel the excitement building, the anticipation mounting. We’re about to witness some of the best footballing action in the world, and we’re ready for it.

But then, something strange happens. As the music unfolds, we’re taken to the studio, and there’s nobody there. No Lineker, no Wright, no Shearer. It’s like a ghost town, an eerie silence that’s as deafening as a roar.

What’s going on? Where are they? Have they been silenced by the powers that be, the Tories who want to control the narrative, to dictate the truth?

It’s a chilling thought, a reminder that even something as innocent as a football programme can be targeted by those who seek to silence the voices of dissent.

But we won’t let them win. We won’t let them silence us. We’ll keep fighting, keep speaking truth to power, and keep the flame of solidarity burning bright. Because that’s what Match of the Day is really about – not just football, but the spirit of the game, the camaraderie, the joy, the hope. And we won’t let anyone take that away from us.

First they came for Gary Lineker, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a footballer.

Then they came for Ian Wright, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a pundit.

Then they came for Alan Shearer, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a commentator.

But then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. *

Is this a country where the powers that be have succeeded in silencing the voices of dissent, where the media is nothing but a mouthpiece for the establishment, and where the truth is a rare commodity? It’s a dark world, my friends, and it’s the world that the Tories want us to live in. 

But we have found three titans of the turf – Gary, Alan, and Wrighty – not just legends of the beautiful game, they’re goddamn heroes in a world gone haywire. They’re standing tall in the face of Tory oppression, their voices ringing out over the terraces in this battle for truth and solidarity. They’re not afraid to stand up for what’s right, to speak truth to power, and to challenge the status quo. 

Today up and down this great nation of ours, football fans will be standing on the terraces, sitting in their seats, their voices ringing out like a chorus of defiance. They’ll be singing the rallying cry of the oppressed, the battle hymn of the dispossessed: “Stand up if you hate the Tories, stand up!” It’s a message that’s as clear as day, as powerful as thunder, and as true as the sun in the sky. And as these fans stand together in solidarity, their hearts beating as one, they’ll send a message to those Tories: we will not be silenced, we will not be cowed, and we will fight for truth and justice until the end of time.

And that’s what the Tories are really afraid of. They’re afraid of the truth. They’re afraid of being held accountable. They’re afraid of losing their grip on power.

So they’ll keep attacking the BBC and our Gary. They’ll keep calling them names. They’ll keep trying to undermine their credibility. 

But they won’t succeed.

Because our BBC its bigger than them. 

It’s bigger than politics.

It’s bigger than ideology.

It’s a bloody national institution. And it’s here to stay.

My final point so listen up, because I’ve got something to say about this so-called “impartiality” in BBC journalism. When they start spouting off about how it’s all about being neutral and unbiased, I can’t help but roll my eyes and let out a deep, long sigh. It’s a load of nonsense, plain and simple.

Even a sports journalist on Sky News can see through this nonsense. As they put it, how can you offer an impartial view when it’s pouring down rain outside? You’ve got to step outside and see for yourself what’s happening.

And let’s not beat around the bush here – if something looks a bit Nazi, then we damn well better call it out for what it is. Creeping fascism doesn’t get a free pass just because you’re part of the government or have some sort of authority.

So listen up, BBC journalists – it’s time to stop pretending that impartiality is the be-all and end-all of reporting. We’ve got a duty to speak up when we see something wrong, and to use our platforms to shine a light on injustice and oppression wherever we find it.

You know what, sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

*Obviously this was done much better by Martin Niemöller

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Simon Pearson is on the Editorial Board of the Anti*Capitalist Resistance and is a Midlands-based political activist.

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