If ever anyone needed an example of the increasingly bitter rivalry between the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, who has occupied the editor’s chair at the Daily Mail for a quarter of a century, and Geordie Greig, recently installed - reportedly at the behest of the Rothermere family - as editor of the Mail On Sunday, it has been provided by the MoS’ serialisation of former Cameron spinmeister Crag Oliver’s new book.
Why the f*** shouldn't I put the boot into my Sunday sister paper, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
As Zelo Street regulars will be aware, the MoS ran its first extracts yesterday, including the last-minute conversion of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson from Leave to Remain, although Oliver appears to have missed that Bozza’s participation in Vote Leave was not a wholly voluntary one. The revelations painted Young Dave’s replacement Theresa May in a less than flattering light.
For the Vagina Monologue, this was little short of treasonous: despite Ms May being still very much an unknown quantity, and showing both fragility at the Dispatch Box and a worrying tendency to control freakery, Dacre is still more than willing to project his entire agenda on to her, and praise her to the hilt for it. So there had to be maximum retribution, although the Mail has stopped short of calling out its sister paper.
“Fury as Dave's pals knife PM: May's allies hit back at Cameron camp over claims she blocked crackdown on immigration before Brexit poll … Theresa May has launched a fightback against David Cameron's camp … It comes after attempts were made to make her look soft on immigration … Her friends claim she demanded stricter border controls when he was PM” thunders the headline, under political editor James Slack’s by-line.
This is backed up by Dominic Lawson, by the most fortunate of coincidences doing his editor’s bidding with such gems as “the man Cameron recruited from the higher echelons of the BBC to become his spin-doctor-in-chief has published an instant account of the recent EU referendum campaign - from the losers’ perspective”.
Lawson also gives us the inside track on what Oliver was up to when still at 10 Downing Street: “He was always scribbling things down in a notebook during meetings and we pretty soon worked out that this was for some sort of diary he wanted to write”. The effrontery! The brazenness! Making notes during meetings! Whatever next?
Backing all of this up has been a suitably judgmental Daily Mail Comment, which says of Oliver that he “is the epitome of the arrogant political class. An obscure, middle-ranking BBC executive before being propelled into Number 10, he has no track record in public service and has never been elected to any office … How he could be given a knighthood merely for being Mr Cameron’s spin doctor remains a mystery”.
That is the clincher for Dacre: he has edited the Mail for all those years, and the only Prime Minister he ever got moderately close to - Gordon Brown - didn’t do honours. So there he is, without his K or peerage, his ingrained envy now turing to bitterness.
Talking up Theresa May could be his last chance of a gong. Sad, really.