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Friday 10th March 2023


At last a mainly decent night’s sleep. Catie had given me magnesium and some sort of cannabis oil before bed and I slept quite deeply for about 5 hours and didn’t lie awake too much after that. I wouldn’t say I was entirely better, but some of the fug had lifted and I didn’t feel like I wanted to die and I had the energy to record some links for an EQ podcast as well as a bonus pod for Acast Plus (though I was a bit croaky and tired by the end of that). Not out of the woods yet, but just felt so good to have my mind partly back and not to feel like I might never be well again.
Sad to see the BBC willingly smash itself into a brick wall today in the hope of impressing a government that wants to destroy it. I think the organisation always did a fairly good job or being impartial, evident from the fact that both left and right would claim it was biased - more trenchantly held views tend to notice when something opposing them is broadcast, rather than something that agrees with them. Arguably their overarching desire to be impartial may very well have resulted in the re-emergence of right wing politics, as they maybe fell over themselves to allow fringe opinions on air. 
Yet impartiality demands consistency and so either nobody can tweet their opinions or everyone (with the possible exception of people working directly on news, but even then, it only really matters if they are being biased). If Sugar and Neil can go into bat for political views, then so can Lineker. I am very much in the camp of believing in free speech and that people shouldn’t be cancelled for stating their opinion (though freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences), though I haven’t heard much from the various organisations and pundits who usually are up in arms if someone is sacked or silenced for saying something others don’t like. It’s complicated - of course it is - but as with any kind of censorship the people in charge need to understand nuance and also not be beholden to one side when making their decisions. I don’t think it was outrageous for someone with profile to point out that the language being used by politicians today might be similar to that used in the 1930s. I am not very happy to see a Prime Minister standing behind a podium saying “Stop the Boats” and making out that refugees, rather than all these years of Tory decisions, are why we’re in the mess we’re in.
Anyway, fascinating to watch it all unfold today and wonder how far this might go. Whereas Clarkson was in trouble for his opinions about Meghan Markle because it meant people didn’t want to come on his show with him, Lineker has galvanised people behind him and they won’t appear on TV unless he’s there (for this week at least). And that’s part of the consensus of freedom of speech. 
Will attacking someone so popular have a negative impact on the government and the BBC? Will it make more people question government policy or just encourage more people to suggest that people stay in their lanes and that some people aren’t allowed to state their political opinion (even though they are stating a political opinion themselves by saying that)?
I have no idea. 
All I know is that the country would be better if it was run by footballers, and there would still be slightly fewer sex criminals in parliament. 

RHLSTP Book Club with Matthew Holness talking about Garth Marenghi’s Terrortome is now up wherever you get your podcasts 

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