At long last, the Rothermere press has bowed to the inevitable, and it has been announced that the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre is to leave his post, to be kicked upstairs and become chairman of Associated Newspapers. This momentous event will occur some time before Dacre turns 70 in November.
It's time for me to f*** off and hand over to some other f***ing c***, c***
The current Lord Rothermere, having praised the Vagina Monologue’s “brilliant stewardship” of the Mail, told “Paul is, quite simply, the greatest Fleet Street editor of his generation not only for his huge circulation successes on both the Mail and the Standard but also for the sheer power of his many campaigns, investigations and crusades that have held power to account, given a voice to the voiceless and often set the political agenda through six prime ministerships”. Ah, the alternate reality of Northcliffe House.
That circulation success has now been eclipsed by a steady decline in sales, which not even the great Dacre could stem. And Rothermere’s effusive words were not echoed by many for whom the Mail, and its daily blast of judgmental, bullying spite, are the polar opposite of campaigning journalism, and even basic decency.
So some of the reactions to The Great Man’s decision to move on were less than full of praise, with human rights barrister Greg Ó Ceallaigh telling “A lot of people think of Paul Dacre as one the worst ever people and a relentless force for evil, but that’s just a front. There is another side to him - the back - and we are finally going to see it”. Ouch!
George Monbiot was also less than charitably inclined: “This man has devoted his career to attacking the weak on behalf of the powerful. He has arguably done more to undermine decency in public life than anyone else in the UK. #PaulDacre - good riddance”. Matt Driscoll, who knows his tabloid journalism, added “Dacre without a massive influence on Fleet Street and modern middle class ideals (some good). But spare a thought for the cowed journalists who visibly shook with fear as they walked in to his conferences”.
James O’Brien had one eye on the succession question. “Dacre becoming 'editor-in-chief' aside, the big question now is whether the Mail owner, under great pressure from his wife & children to detoxify the 'brand', has the cojones to give the gig to MoS editor Geordie Greig instead of a flaccid Dacre tribute act like @tonygallagher”. Quite.
Those who have been targeted by Dacre’s hatred had their say, not least Alastair Campbell: “Dacre retires to spend more time with his EU grants on his Scottish estate and bronzing his corpulent frame in his fourth home in the British Virgin Islands. Worst of British values posing as the best. Malign influence on media culture. Good riddance”.
Patrick Strudwick reminded us of Dacre’s commitment to LGBT rights, or lack of it: “Paul Dacre has run a newspaper that has demonised, stigmatised, and bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for decades. His legacy is one of division, bigotry and fear-mongering. Britain - and the media - will be a better place without him”.
Dacre’s vicious demonisation of other minorities was touched upon by Sun Apology. “Regardless of what you may think of the Daily Mail, you have to begrudgingly admit Paul Dacre is a poisonous little shite who's done more than anyone to embolden and empower the racist dregs of this country”. Along with his unappealing bevy of pundits.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson highlighted one Dacre conundrum: men editing a newspaper read mainly by women: “Now that Paul Dacre has been sacked, wouldn’t it be great if the Daily Mail, Britain’s largest newspaper targeted at women, was edited by a woman?” Very much an outside bet, and I suspect Tom knows it.
So wouldn’t anyone speak up for the editor who has put in more than a quarter of a century of service at the Mail? Well, Andrew Pierce would. “Paul Dacre will be the last of his kind: the greatest campaigning editor of his era”. I do hope that everyone reading had already digested their breakfast before experiencing the thoughts of that crawler.
Just to put Pierce and his fellow creeps straight, here is what the tireless Evan Harris of campaigning group Hacked Off had to say about the departure of the Vagina Monologue from the editor’s chair.
So who succeeds Dacre - Tony Gallagher ...
“Mr Dacre’s decision to resign today will bring no comfort to the victims of the Mail’s many years of unethical and bullying conduct. Under Dacre’s editorship, the Mail has been consistently among the newspapers culpable for the most breaches of the Editors’ Code, even while Dacre himself presided over the Committee which wrote it”.There was more.
“Mr Dacre has questions to answer about his employment of individuals known to steal and ‘blag’ personal data, and whether his evidence to Part One of the Leveson Inquiry was complete and correct. It was no surprise, therefore, that Mr Dacre’s newspaper was the first newspaper in the western world to campaign against the completion of a Public Inquiry - Leveson Part 2 - into alleged corporate criminality and cover-up”. And more.
... or Geordie Greig?
“The ethical problems of the industry and the public’s loss of trust in newspapers are Paul Dacre’s true legacy and will continue long after he moves upstairs at the Mail’s offices.” Got it in one. Paul Dacre knew how to move more newspapers and engage with his target audience, but the casualties - those trampled over by his hacks and pundits, public confidence in journalism, and things like facts - have come back to bite his paper.
He and his reputation may have become richer; the rest of us are poorer. And that’s not good enough.