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‘Woke’ BBC accusations from ex-Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson are downright ridiculous

‘Woke’ BBC accusations from ex-Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson are downright ridiculous
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It’s the feeble, nonsensical denunciation of a feeble, nonsensical era. Once upon a time, long before things like endless doomscrolling and culture wars over international football kits had been invented, paunchy middle-aged white men scared and confused by the changing world around them would shout slurs like ‘traitor’, or ‘witch’, or ‘communist’ to besmirch, and ideally eradicate, anybody or anything that they couldn’t neatly squeeze down the narrow allies of their smooth brains. Now they shout ‘woke’ instead.

Somebody daring to make an entirely valid and meticulously-researched point on the overt damage that Brexit has caused to this tired, sewer-stained island? Woke! A person – just the most average, unremarkable human being you can possibly imagine – suggesting that actually, y’know what, guys, maybe it’s not okay to sexually harass women? Woke! People who eat avocados? Woke! Casting directors for television adverts who have the temerity to employ black actors? Woke! Anybody who opposes genocide? Woke! The neighbour’s cat who keeps climbing over the garden fence in the middle of the night and defecating in your bed of chrysanthemums? Oh, you better believe there’s a special place in hell for that woke little bastard!

It is an apoplectic utterance that has lost all semblance of meaning other than to signify a general sense of self-obsessed indignation. Those who splutter it with venom would be just as well served buying sandwich boards that they can wear out and about in public, reading: ‘I fail to see the innate hypocrisy of calling somebody a snowflake and also I struggle to tell which images on my Facebook feed were made by AI’. Then again, perhaps that latter part is none too shocking; the antithesis of artificial intelligence is, after all, genuine stupidity.

Which brings us, in a tangential sort of way, to Mark Lawrenson. If you’re one of those blue-pilled sheeple who actually reads the mainstream media, then you might have seen that the former Match of the Day pundit has been speaking about his slow decline from relevancy in recent days. According to Lawro, the reason why he was quietly bagged up in a bin liner and crammed down a garbage disposal chute that leads to a fleshy landfill of former TV personalities in a cavern beneath Broadcasting House is because – and you’re never going to believe this – the BBC is woke!

In his own words, the broadcaster, with his general demeanour like a melting Christmas tree ornament, said: ‘Gone woke? It is top of the woke league. They are frightened to death, absolutely and totally frightened to death. You have seen the stuff with Gary Lineker and obviously people at the head of the BBC, I think day by day, I think the integrity of the corporation gets chipped off. It used to be absolutely fantastic but they are woke, plus 100 per cent.’ Double woke. It’s worse than we feared!

Now, there’s a lot to unpack here. Firstly, the BBC going top must be a crushing blow to the transgender community and Greta Thunberg, both of whom were presumably looking to mount title challenges this season. Then, rather puzzlingly, there is the reference to Lawrenson’s former colleague Lineker, who infamously landed himself in hot water last year after comparing the government’s asylum policy to 1930s Nazi Germany; because now, even punishing a comment that was pearl-clutchingly deemed by many to be woke is somehow also woke.

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Then again, farce is not exactly a novel aspect of Lawro’s ruminations. Shortly after his dismissal from the BBC a couple of years ago, he shared details of, what he perceived to be, a ‘very early woke moment’ in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death in which an editor allegedly instructed him, ‘Don’t mention the wall’, when describing free-kicks. We are quite literally one step removed from a Fawlty Towers bit at this point.

But really, the biggest thing that strikes you when mulling over Lawro’s latest outburst is the lack of self-awareness. Was his contract not renewed because he was 65 and white, or was it because he once, week by week, predicted that his beloved Liverpool would patch together a 159-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League? Was he ousted because those Social Justice Worriers at the Beeb suddenly got a hankering for a spot of ageism, or was it because every time he appeared on a gantry, he gave the distinct impression of having been dragged there by his thumb nails?

Football – rightly or wrongly, and as much as it might upset some – has moved on from the hobnailed hoofball days of Lawrenson’s prime. The dinosaurs, as they are prone to do, have given way to oil. And with that transition comes a need to refresh panels to reflect modern ideas and to provide contemporary insights. If we happen to engender a little more diversity as a consequence of that process, then good; where is the harm?

You see, when people cry ‘woke!’ what they are really doing is trying to shift accountability. Whether they are conniving behind smoke and mirrors or simply parroting buzz words in knee jerk denial, they refuse to admit that they could possibly be – even partially – at fault for any of the problems in their own lives, and they therefore seek to pin it on the nearest, easiest, and, not infrequently, most vulnerable target at hand.

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The BBC still employ white, middle-aged men. As they should. It’s just that now they also employ women and ethnic minorities too. As they should. But regardless of race, gender, religion, or anything else, the one thing that all these newfangled pundits presumably have in common is that they are willing to learn and grow in a professional capacity. Maybe if Lawrenson had been too, he would still be there.



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