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05 July 2022

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Kay Burley – does she really think she can get away with it?
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Kay Burley – does she really think she can get away with it?

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The boot is on the other foot this time; I bet there are a fair few politicians laughing their socks off!

“All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” said Jesus in the Gospel of St Matthew, chap 26 v52. This is an expression we all know well, hearing it with various slight variations in wording, but probably best known as “he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword”. Taking it literally, that would not be something which would apply these days – not too many of us carry swords but of course its broader meaning is quite clear.

Another expression conveying a similar meaning is “Do as you would be done by” or even “Be done by as you did”. Both of these were used to help teach children how to behave.

Putting aside literary semantics for the moment, Kay Burley has been a controversial news presenter for Sky for years. She is well known for asking difficult and awkward questions, for saying “well I will ask the question for the third time…” to wriggling politicians who are desperately trying to get themselves out of a hole with excessive irrelevant verbiage but there is Kay Burley not having any of it.

Some people find this mode of questioning admirable whilst others probably find it rather cringe-worthy but that may be as much to do with the wriggling politician as the efforts to belittle him because, let’s face it, that is what interviewers are trying to do in these situations.

So when we hear that Kay Burley spent the evening on her 60th birthday having an illicit dinner party in a private London club with nine other people totally in contravention to the Covid-19 tier two rules, followed by a party at a private house, it is difficult to imagine that she thought she could avoid detection or retribution. To say that she apologises for a lapse in judgement hardly does it; what if she were being questioned by another Kay Burley on Sky News? And if it is okay for her, and some of her Sky News colleagues to break the rules and get away with it, then presumably it is all okay so far as she and Sky News are concerned for everyone else to do so as well.

It is a shame that these infractions keep happening and with people in positions of influence and power. The public look to such people for a good example and it is bad when they do not measure up to the need. Basically if you want to be influential you have to be squeaky clean because you will always be under the spotlight.

And of course Sky News will have to think carefully about their position lest they become tarred with the same brush. They certainly have not been heard to criticise Burley and colleagues on air. Why on earth not? This is a supreme case of “you will do as I say not as I do”.

Adrian Leopard 10-12-20

Photo Stella de Smit

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