Steerpike

Is it one rule for Sky News, another for everyone else?

Is it one rule for Sky News, another for everyone else?
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Kay Burley is hardly what you would call a ‘sympathetic personality’ – but Steerpike is a magnanimous sort and he can’t help feeling a little sorry for her on this chilly winter’s morning.

The poor presenter is having a miserable time because, having spent much of the year berating others for their failings vis Covid, she has been caught breaching the stop-the-spread rules herself in order to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Who doesn’t deserve a little bit of a dinner out — or two — to celebrate becoming a sexagenarian (her special day is actually on December 17th, but hey who’s counting)? The trouble is Kay and her pals, including Sky’s equally amiable political editor Beth Rigby and former senior news editor turned Huawei ‘head of media’ Paul ‘5G’ Harrison, got a little carried away. After eating in one restaurant in Soho, some of the party apparently visited another — before going back to a Kay’s for a knees-up. That isn’t Tier 2 behaviour, as Kay well knows, and her rather feeble ‘spend a penny’ excuse on Twitter, isn’t holding much water.

The question everyone is asking — because they’ve heard Kay, Beth and the Sky News crew ask about little else on TV in the last few months — is this: is it one rule for them and another for the rest of us? Or do Sky News presenters, because of their key worker status, have some special dispensation to go out drinking?

Mr S is no stickler for our arcane and confusing Covid rules — who is, honestly? What does stick in the craw however is the hypocrisy of our news industry slebs, who castigate any poor sod they can find for their Covid irresponsibility — even though they clearly think the rules are beneath them.

Cast your minds back to that May bank holiday weekend, when Dominic Cummings had to grovel before the media — sorry, nation — for his questionable movements around Barnard Castle. Kay Burley grilled Michael Gove on Sky for daring to defend Cummings:

Beth Rigby meanwhile made quite a spectacle of herself by angrily ticking off the government adviser for all to see:

The Sky News team didn’t just aim their fire on Cummings either. Back in May, when it was revealed that the scientist Neil Ferguson had broken the lockdown rules and resigned, Burley suggested the epidemiologist should be prosecuted by the police, and asked the Health Secretary Matt Hancock: ‘What did you think when you read it? Did you bang your head on the desk?’

Live by the scold, die by the scold, girls. Mr Steerpike doesn’t wish to see anyone sacked. He only hopes the one lesson we call all draw from this sorry saga is that perhaps, when it comes to obeying nonsensical anti-virus measures, we should be kinder to each other — while there’s still time.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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