The “pearl clutching” over Gary Lineker’s comments about the government’s new immigration strategy really is something to behold, says Martin Samuel in The Times. The main complaint seems to be that the Match of the Day presenter went too far by drawing a comparison between the Tories’ policy and 1930s Germany. Really? Like it or not, the Nazis are a “reference point”: it’s why we call an over-officious person “a right little Hitler”, or compare getting asked a lot of questions to “being interrogated by the Gestapo”. The newspapers and journalists demanding Lineker be sacked use this shorthand all the time: “dustbin Nazis”, “condiment Nazis”, “town hall Nazis”. These supposed “champions of free speech” should just admit that what vexes them isn’t Lineker’s language, but his opinions.
What the BBC presenter and his luvvie ilk get wrong about small boats, says Allister Heath in The Daily Telegraph, is that most people coming to the UK this way aren’t “fleeing modern slavery”. The vast majority are “young, male economic migrants”, many from Albania. “Contra Lineker, it is those who encourage this deadly obstacle race who are guilty of cruelty.” Rishi Sunak wants to create a “safe and legal” route for people truly seeking sanctuary, which filters out those who “falsely claim to be in fear for their lives”. Curtailing the number of illegal immigrants will allow us to extend resettlement schemes for Ukrainians, Hong Kongers and Afghans – people who, I’m sure Lineker would agree, truly are “victims of tyranny and persecution”.