Gary Lineker ‘got off lightly’ says ex-BBC Panorama journalist

Laura Kuenssburg reads out readers comments about Gary Lineker

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A distinguished former BBC journalist, who went to court three times and won defending BBC impartiality, has attacked Gary Lineker for his ignorance of history. As the former footballer prepares to return to host Match of the Day tonight, John Ware, who has produced programs for Panorama, suggested he “got off lightly”.

The row began when Lineker posted a Tweet alleging that the language used by Home Secretary Suella Braverman about her Illegal Migration Bill was like that used in “1930s Germany” in effect comparing her and the Government to the Nazis.

Speaking on Jonny Gould’s Jewish State podcast, Mr Ware said: “It’s the historical anolgy that I find disagreeable. I just don’t recognise this and I don’t think any mainstream historian would either.

“I don’t think you’ll find many – if any – people making speeches about how the fatherland needs to extirpate the Bolsheviks, I’m not aware of any beer halls in Manchester or London or anywhere else, calling for a new British empire to arise devoid of ‘Jewish vermin’ by exterminating it root and branch.

“I’m not aware of any racial hygiene departments developing in universities, developing studios’ scientific curriculum on how to deal with the problem of unworthy lives.”

He went on to point out that if the UK really was like Nazi Germany “I would be in a concentration camp because my wife is Jewish and so would the Home Secretary because her husband is Jewish”.

Mr Ware added: “I think [Lineker] actually got off quite lightly when the Home Secretary said rather mildly, more in sorrow, I suspect, than in anger, where she said [his] comparison was irresponsible.

“But it’s an easy hit isn’t it? Someone you find politically objectionable – imply they are heading down the same road as the Nazis.

“Too often drawing a Nazi-like comparison has become the currency of political argument and it devalues both the argument and the people who draw it.”

Mr Ware, 75, has had a distinguished career and recently sued the Labour Party for defamation after they tried to discredit his documentary on antisemitisim under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

He was awarded a reported £200,000 in damages and costs in the case and Mr Corbyn and other accusers agreed to make a full public apology.

While Mr Ware is no longer employed by the BBC after taking coluntary reduncancy in 2012 he has continued to produce freelance work for the Corporation and others.

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