Le Tissier briefly quit social media ahead of his Sky exit, referring to “trolls and bots trying to put me down” and, for his own well-being, limits his daily activity on social media. However, he does not regret any of his publications on Covid-19. “I have always said that the answer [to the pandemic] was not proportionate,” he said. “A deliberate overreaction in my opinion. If they were scared, they wouldn’t have parties while we were locked in our homes, would they? We cannot be so afraid of death that we cease to live.

Le Tissier says he’s had “a few days where I felt a little rough, a little shivery” but doesn’t test. “I don’t care if I got it or not. If I feel bad and I don’t feel like going out, I don’t go out. If I’m coughing and sputtering, I’m definitely not going out because it’s just bad manners and rude”.

He is also dismissive of face masks but, on the subject of politeness, why not wear one if it can help and reassure another person? “Wearing a mask is a sign of conformity,” he says.

Le Tissier dismissed the “anti-vax” label, saying he’s just “very skeptical” and has had other vaccines. “I’m not a far-right conspiracy theorist,” he insists.

He rightly implores others to proactively “seek out” and consider all the evidence, but whether it’s the death toll, the masks, or the potential benefits and harms of various measures, it only seems to highlight data or opinions that reinforce a particular narrative. .

He is courteous, however, in the way he debates and baffled by the idea that taking different stances on topics like Brexit or even Covid-19 should polarize society, impact friendships and invite vitriol.

“I’ve always been someone who will stand up for what he believes in but, at the same time, if the evidence changes and I’m proven wrong, then I’ll be the first person to raise my hand and leaving, “I’m really sorry, I misread that,” he says. “You move forward by having debates and giving people the opportunity to hear both sides.

“I don’t attack people because they have views that are different from mine. I will talk to people and debate. I didn’t think things were fair and balanced. That’s why I took the position I took.

“I am of the opinion (…) that all of this divide and conquer is done on purpose because, while we are all fighting among ourselves, in fact no one really pays attention to what is happening at the top I’m very much myself – I’ve always been willing to question authority…when something is wrong with me.

For all of this, you still have to wonder what kind of toll the past two years might have taken. Le Tissier said he felt “a bit sad” when he quit social media in 2020, pointing to “sarcastic remarks trying to make it look like I’m an indifferent individual who has no empathy”, but seems now emboldened and says he has received a vast recent upsurge in support for his position.

“The attacks that were inflicted on me probably affected the people around me more than they affected me,” he says.
“I find it quite easy to deal with any abuse. I guess it comes from 50,000 people singing, ‘you fat b——‘ and stuff for many years. You develop thick skin. I have incredibly tough mental resilience. I’m pretty happy with my life.

The Pundits Tour will appear at St George’s Hall in Bradford on Thursday February 10 from 7.30pm.

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