Right Up the Gary.

There are many places to look if you want an educated glimpse into the sort of ideas that people bandied around, all willy-nilly, in Germany in the 1930’s. Perhaps one might start with Frank McDonough’s The Hitler Years, Triumph 1933-1939. You could also take on both of Ian Kershaw’s volumes on that same little moustachioed lunatic: Hitler – Hubris/Nemesis, and extract what you needed. William L Shirer produced not only The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich but also a Berlin Diary, both of which might come in handy if you wanted to get a better idea of the socio-political changes one may have witnessed as Europe crept ever closer towards an era defining, titanic struggle with the forces of evil. The list quite literally goes on and on. Very few events have been written about in quite so much depth as World War II and so it makes sense that there are entire wings of libraries stuffed with analysis by thousands of historians, many of them with A Levels and stuff like that, all trying to piece together just what happened in Germany, in the 1930’s, that managed to get us so close to global self-destruction. Sadly, I just don’t have the time to read through all that stuff, but it’s ok. Because if I want to get a better understanding of 1930’s Germany I can just ask Gary Lineker.

We should all be grateful for having a Gary Lineker. No other country has got one. Not even Germany. In fact, not even Germany in the 1930’s. Just imagine if there had been a Gary Lineker in the 1930’s. In Germany. Imagine what he could have achieved. I mean, Hitler might have been persistently keen on some pretty wild-eyed policies during the 1930’s, particularly, but not exclusively, in Germany, but I reckon even he would have met his match when faced with a 1930’s German equivalent of Gary Lineker. I reckon Gary Von Lineker would have simply burst into one of Adolf’s hate filled rallies and given him a stern talking to. Or perhaps he would have posted a message on the 1930’s German version of Twitter about the kind of language Hitler was using and then Hitler would have got really upset and gone to his room without supper and probably done a bit of a wee in his pants because he was so scared. Blimey, I hope no-one else starts using the kind of language you’d expect to hear in 1930’s Germany, because if they do then there’ll be no-one left to say anything ever again unless Gary Lineker gives it the all clear.

And who knew, all those years ago, when Gary Lineker spent most of his time hanging around in the penalty box during international football fixtures, waiting for a cheap goal and hoping the referee hadn’t spotted he was slightly offside, that he would become one of the leading, no, the leading voice of political reason and democratic freedom in Britain, let alone Germany. In, or out of, the 1930’s. Bless him. He could have just hung up his boots and started a new career as a gambling addict or a failed race horse owner but no, our Gary was far to high minded for such trivial pursuits. Instead he forged ahead on a new, ever upward trajectory, by helping football fans understand what they had just seen on the football pitch with their own eyes and then asking some slightly less intellectual friends to basically repeat what he had just said but in a slightly thicker way and then pretend to mildly disagree with him before accepting that, on second thoughts, their host, Gary Lineker, was always right after all. Gosh, Gary Lineker was so good he even found time to rake in millions by promoting crisps to make fat kids even fatter. Not that you can use the word fat anymore, because it says what it means, and that just isn’t fair. What a legend, our Gary.

These achievements alone would be enough to sign off on one of the most successful post football careers of all time, and certainly since, oh I don’t know, the 1930’s in Germany, but brave Gary Lineker hasn’t stopped there, thank heavens. Like King Arthur with Excalibur, Gary Lineker has mastered how to waft his Twitter account around like a shimmering sword of truth and righteousness, so much so that these days you can always be safe in the knowledge that he’s poised and primed, ready to bust the chin clean off anyone foolish enough to open their mouths and start using the kind of language you’d expect to hear in 1930’s Germany. You might even call it his calling card. And you have to respect him for that. You have to respect him for not being afraid to be disciplined by the BBC, because if I was as absolutely minted as him and had 8.7 million Twitter followers I’m sure I’d also be terrified of losing my job for a couple of days before being reinstated with a formal apology and a huge pay rise. And I’d be terrified too that all my rich, holier-than-thou, Rupert Grint level clueless, sporty friends might not completely back me up, put their feet up and refuse to talk a lot of needless shit about football for an hour and a half a week until I was fully reinstated with a formal apology and a huge pay rise. But Gary Lineker is braver than me, of course, because he’s Gary Lineker. And is, as I may have mentioned, fucking minted. Which reminds me, we should also respect the fact that he describes himself as a “freelancer”. Yes, a freelancer who works almost wholly for the BBC for a shed load of taxpayers money. Quite the Robin Hood. Quite the renegade. Quite the mercenary.

In the end I can’t be sure I’m certain quite what kind of language they used to use in 1930’s Germany, but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say it was probably German. And when Gary Lineker said of our morally crippled government’s new plan for illegal migrants – “This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s.”, I can’t help but think he may be going a bit over the top. For starters I would have thought that if you had suggested that every illegal migrant be hanged, drawn and quartered upon arrival in Britain then that would better earn the description “immeasurably cruel policy”, and I also think he should have taken into account that possibly the “most vulnerable” people involved may well be the many unquestioning millions who have nothing better to do than follow his Twitter feed on a daily basis. There is no doubt that the government is full of idiots and that at present almost all of their policies are lame, but that doesn’t mean we should be subjected to Gary Lineker’s opinion on the matter, despite the fact he is an internationally renowned authority on German domestic policy in the 1930’s. And it’s really quite unfair on his regular audience: just remember, after all, that quite a few footballers and football fans may not be absolutely sure where Germany is or what the 1930’s were. Furthermore, if we start over-valuing Lineker’s opinion then who will be the next flabbergastingly unqualified political crusader with an itchy Twitter finger? Clare Balding? Gino D’Acampo? That Chuckle brother that isn’t already dead? But what do I know? I wasn’t around in Germany in the 1930’s and when I last checked I wasn’t Gary Lineker; both of which are facts and come as an incredible relief.

G B Hewitt. 11.03.2023

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