How tickled I am not

I was pleased to see that statues of Ken Dodd and Bessie Braddock have been unveiled at Liverpool Lime Street station. A daft comedian and a forthright, principled female politician are the sorts of people who should be commemorated in public art.

I then realized I knew very little about Mrs Braddock, other than the famous abuse Winston Churchill directed at her, at least apocryphally. The Liverpool Echo, who should be able to fall back on their archives and provide excellent insights into the character of a woman who was a city MP for a quarter of a century, described her as ‘an ardent socialist and fiery campaigner particularly in the fields of maternity, child welfare and youth crime.’ This was a start, but I wanted more information. What were her political achievements? What controversies was she engaged with?

Inevitably, the first site to offer information was Wikipedia. The entry for Mrs Braddock is fairly brief, and she is described as ‘an ardent socialist and fiery campaigner, nicknamed 'Battling Bessie'. Her special interests included maternity, child welfare and youth crime’. Hmm, I thought, that sounds familiar. I went back to the Liverpool Echo piece and double-checked. Yes, there they were. The Wikipedia words regurgitated in the newspaper article. The Liverpool Echo archives were obviously empty.

The media are usually quick to jump on stories regarding cheating and plagiarism, or decry the teaching of computer literacy instead of British history, so it’s good to know that they’re not involved in a pot-kettle-black scenario. The use of stringent research techniques is being maintained, and the future of journalistic integrity is in safe hands.

If only Mrs Braddock was around to ruffle some feathers.