Lesson plan; Twitter and Refugees: A Case Study of Gary Lineker’s Controversial Tweet


In this lesson, we will explore a recent controversy that involved Gary Lineker, a famous former footballer and current BBC presenter, who tweeted his criticism of the UK government’s asylum policy and compared it to Nazi Germany. We will examine the context, arguments and reactions to his tweet, and discuss how it relates to issues such as freedom of speech, media impartiality and social responsibility. We will also learn about the situation of refugees who try to cross the Channel in small boats to seek asylum in the UK. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:


The lesson plan is about a recent controversy involving Gary Lineker, a former England footballer and current BBC presenter, who tweeted his criticism of the UK government’s asylum policy and compared it to Nazi Germany. Source: BBC and The Guardian, The Independent 

The tweet sparked a backlash from some people who accused him of being biased and breaching BBC impartiality rules.

Lineker defended his tweet and said he was speaking up for refugees who have no voice. He also said he had received a lot of support from his fans.

The BBC said it was having a “frank conversation” with Lineker about his tweet and reminded him of his responsibilities as a presenter.

In groups of 3 or 4 discuss these questions:

  • What is asylum and why do some people seek it?
  • What are some of the challenges and risks that asylum seekers face when crossing the Channel in small boats?
  • What are some of the arguments for and against accepting more refugees in the UK?
  • How do you think Lineker’s tweet affected his credibility as a presenter?
  • Do you think Lineker had the right to express his opinion on Twitter? Why or why not?
  • How do you think freedom of speech relates to social responsibility?
  • What are some of the main changes that the Nationality and Borders Bill proposes for the UK asylum system?
  • How will the UK’s withdrawal from the Dublin system affect its ability to return asylum seekers to other EU countries?
  • How will the UK’s access to EU databases such as Eurodac impact its management of asylum applications?
  • What are some of the benefits and challenges of having an independent asylum system outside of the EU framework?
  • How will Brexit affect the UK’s cooperation with other countries on refugee resettlement and humanitarian aid?

Essay topics:

  • Compare and contrast the UK’s asylum policy with that of another European country. Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Analyze how social media platforms can be used for advocacy or activism on issues such as immigration. Discuss their benefits and drawbacks.
  • Discuss how media personalities can balance their personal views with their professional roles. Provide examples of successful or unsuccessful cases.

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