On Thursday evening, broadcaster Liz Kershaw Tweeted out a photo of herself and Julie Bindel, telling her followers “Me and Me Julie @bindlej Ready to go with #skypapers”. She seemed happy to be taking part in the Sky News paper review. Sadly, this was destined to be a campaign that developed not necessarily to her advantage.
Ms Kershaw was invited to pronounce on a story about baby bottle manufacturer Philips Avent, which was transferring production from East Anglia to the Netherlands, with the loss of 430 British jobs. As the New European told readers, “Brexiteer broadcaster Liz Kershaw has branded the loss of Philips from East Anglia as ‘great news’ for Brexit on breakfast television”. You read that right. And there was more.
“While most would see the move as terrible, the BBC Radio 6 Music DJ claimed this was ‘good news’ because it showed Philips still had faith in the UK … ‘I think this is great! It is terrible that jobs are lost in East Anglia, however, doesn’t it show faith by a multinational in a global market that they can manufacture these bottles in Holland and still easily frictionless trade import them to the UK?’” Oh, folly folly! Presenti flollopload!
“Presenters Stephen Dixon and Gillian Joseph were forced to intervene - hinting that her argument was insensitive to those losing jobs. Joseph said: ‘I don’t think the 430 people who have lost their job will see it as a positive.’ Kershaw, however, did not get the hint and continued to dig a large hole. ‘I’m not saying that, I don’t like that, I’m saying rather than “ooh we’re leaving because Brexit is going to be bad” I think you can put your own spin on anything’”. She did eventually concede “I wish I’d never mentioned it”.
But in the retelling, Ms Kershaw became outraged at the thought that she was - once again - destined to be the object of ridicule (Zelo Street regulars may recall her less than felicitous attitude to refugees arriving by boat) . So she came out fighting. She would sue! “When I sue this rag I will also include anyone who has abused me on here by swallowing their libellous misinterpretation of my comments this morning. Be warned”.
But, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, the New European included a video of the relevant part of the Sky Papers review, which shows that Ms Kershaw did indeed make the comments attributed to her. And two, that wasn’t the only publication reporting on her mis-step: the East Anglian Daily Times also carried the story.
Their version told “Broadcaster Liz Kershaw branded Philips Avent leaving East Anglia as ‘great news’ for Brexit on breakfast television - but added the job losses were ‘terrible’ … As she reviewed the newspapers for Sky News, she left the presenters baffled, as well as the fellow reviewer, as she commented on job losses at the factory in Glemsford in Suffolk which makes baby bottles and soothers … Kershaw claimed it was ‘good news’ that Philips had such faith in the UK”. So much faith they’re packing up and leaving.
The suggestion that Ms Kershaw might go to law over more than one publication reporting what she actually said has already attracted a significant amount of derision. If she goes ahead, she might also attract a reference to Arkell v Pressdram 1971.
Stick to the music, Liz. And keep schtum about politics. Just a teensy hint.
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