Remember Melissa Kite? One-time deputy political editor of the Sunday Telegraph, an occasional TV pundit - she did Question Time once - a journalistic rarity who could be read in both the Guardian and Daily Mail, and regular columnist for the Spectator, she had produced some amusing and occasionally memorable work, not least on the occasion Nigella Lawson split from Charles Saatchi after That Throat-Grabbing Incident.
What do you think of it so far?
But time moves inexorably on, and Ms Kite faded from public view, save for her paywalled Spectator column, which claims to be about “Real Life”. Her problem is, though, that not enough Real Life permeates her world. One subject proving particularly resistant to her is the car-crash that is Brexit, all of which came spilling out into public view yesterday evening after Channel 4 News invited her to debate that subject with Peter Oborne.
Peter Oborne - not deflected
Oborne had concluded that he was wrong in voting Leave, and had declared that those who had done as he did might consider thinking again. But as Krishnan Guru-Murthy tried to instil some sense of order to the debate, Ms Kite declared that 17.4 million voters were all standing firm (the interview data, for some reason, went missing).
She was certain that not one Leave voter had changed their mind. Oborne had to point out that he was one Leave voter who had changed his mind. This was deflected by the assertion that Oborne might have been merely pretending to be a Leave supporter, while all along being a closet Remainer. Did she think, then, that he was a plant? Right now, she declared, that could not be discounted. The response was not favourable to her.
Alex Andreou mused “Melissa Kite of The @Spectator, just accused @OborneTweets - a journalist of three-decades worth of published euroscepticism - of being a plant. Stood next to a Leave voter who publicly changed his mind she insisted 'every Leave voter wants no deal'. Embarrassing”. Jonathan Hopper added “Blimey, Melissa Kite of the Spectator rag, showing awful debating skills doing the brexit mantra of generalising and repeating untruths. How can she possibly know 17.4m all want no deal FFS”.
Peter Geoghegan was unimpressed. “Melissa Kite, pro-Brexit @spectator, basically says Oborne is a remain plant and then (erroneously) says over and over that polls show rising support for Brexit. No engagement at all w/Oborne's piece or his points. When did public debate become so bad?” Helen Farrell agreed “Staggering stupidity from Melissa Kite. Total refusal to engage with his points - just shouting ‘we voted for it’ like a two year old”.
Colin Jackson caught the desperation in her approach: “Melissa Kite on @Channel4News sounding desperate in debate with Peter Oborne. Almost as if she knows her #Brexit nirvana is about to die”. Mark Reckons reckoned “Why did Channel 4 News not just interview Oborne on his own? Why did they have to have Melissa Kite hectoring and interrupting him, calling him a Remain ‘plant’ stating nonsense like ’17.4 million people want no deal’ when she's standing next to someone who proves her wrong?”
Also, Ms Kite’s recent waywardness has received a mention from Ian Fraser: “After Melissa Kite wrote a crass column in @spectator about the vet who tended her horse, @BritishVets was forced to publish this [link HERE]”. And it got worse.
After white supremacist Lauren Southern was banned from the UK last year, Ms Kite Tweeted her “@Lauren_Southern Apologies from Britain. Millions here mortified by your treatment. Increasingly don't much like my own country. Came i come to yours?” Another minor detail for Fraser Nelson to bat away, along with all the others.
But Ms Kite’s greatest embarrassment, which will haunt her forever, is that she appeared on Pointless Celebrities, and went out in the first round, partnering … Toby Young.
And that is beyond embarrassing. Not a good look all round, Ms Kite.
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