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Thursday 14 November 2013

Happy Birthday Paul Dacre – Now Go

Today, one of the press’ most revered news sources turns 65. In papers up and down the land, his name is whispered reverently, his highs and lows remembered, and glasses have been silently raised to give thanks, and hope for many more such anniversaries. But enough of Prince Brian of Windsor – it’s also the 65th for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre.
Who are you f***ing telling to retire, c***?!?

The Vagina Monologue, having trousered many millions of pounds over the twenty-odd years that he has been at the helm of the Daily Mail, can now look forward to the prospect of retirement at his spacious house in the Home Counties, or on occasion an extensive estate in Scotland. There are also opportunities, it seems, for him to relax in the Caribbean sunshine.

But Dacre, as any Mail hack will confirm, is a workaholic, and even after all this time is still consumed with boiling anger at a world that refuses to bend to his will. So, despite any suggestion that he takes a rest and winds down before that heart condition catches up with him, he has negotiated a new contract, so he can continue to terrorise Northcliffe House and all who set foot in it.

Sadly, that might not be the wisest of decisions, and the latest issue of Private Eye confirms it. On page 8, in the Street Of Shame section, readers are told of his decision to dispose of the services of Richard Kay as diarist and gossipmonger. Kay had been at the Mail rather longer than Dacre has sat in the editor’s chair. His replacement has come from the Standard (former editor Geordie Greig).

And here, it seems, lies the problem: Greig is much favoured by Claudia, wife of Associated Newspapers boss Lord Rothermere. It is apparently she who has been moved to pass adverse comment on Kay’s scribblings, some of which have caused her embarrassment by association. Moreover, Dacre’s recent failed assault on the reputation of Ralph Miliband has weakened his position.

As Jon Stewart might have said, two things here: one, was the fragrant Claudia also behind the recent disposal of Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips? That seemed most unlike the Vagina Monologue. And two, as the Eye points out, Kay being dumped is going to have the rest of the staff on edge. If someone with 33 years’ loyal service can be out so quickly, what of the others?

The Daily Mail has an awful lot of dead wood hanging around, much of it sheltered for so long by Paul Dacre: Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover, Jan Moir, Amanda Bloody Platell, Quentin Letts (let’s not) and ultimate old media dinosaur Richard Littlejohn are all vulnerable right now. And Tim Shipman is rumoured to be about to jump ship. It’s not going to be such a happy Christmas at the Mail this year.

He should have retired. Before the Rothermeres, or the Grim Reaper, do it for him.

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