What had been predicted for some time came to pass earlier this year: Associated Newspapers, the firm that brings us the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, announced that the time in the editor’s chair of the Mail was coming to an end for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. What was worse for the Vagina Monologue was that he was to be replaced by current Mail on Sunday editor Geordie Greig, whom he cannot stand.
What's so f***ing wrong with buying the c***ing Telegraph so I can keep kicking who I f***ing like, c***?!?!?
At the time, the question was asked: was he jumping, or being pushed? Dacre could have retired at age 65; he would have secured an annual pension worth hundreds of thousands, he had his Home Counties mansion, his Belgravia pied-à -terre, and his estate in Scotland - what more could he want? But we knew the answer: Dacre is not known as “The Robert Mugabe of Fleet Street” for nothing. He wanted to go on for ever.
And now, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has given us an insight into the still-boiling rage of the deposed megalomaniac. Dacre did not want to go; his proprietor, the fourth Viscount Rothermere, had taken the decision to move him on. But after 26 years at the helm, Dacre is in no mood for going quietly. As Watson has revealed, the “Double-C**ter” of Northcliffe House is trying desperately to remain an editor - somewhere.
The Labour deputy leader points out that his sources are from within the Mail, and Tom’s sources are usually pretty accurate: remember that he was one of the first to get the story that the Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn had been given a written warning - probably a final one - for bullying. And here’s his first revelation: “Paul Dacre is looking to put a consortium together to buy Daily Telegraph and install himself as Editor”.
The Telegraph has been hollowed out and its journalism is becoming increasingly a joke, but it has a brand, and a platform. That is what Dacre will miss when he leaves the Mail; the ability to issue his thundering and spiteful editorial pronouncements. And boy, is he angry: “Dacre, so angry at his ousting by Rothermeres, is leaving early at beginning of September and unlikely to take up editor-in-chief position”.
Would the Barclay Brothers sell? They might even ask him in. After all, the Tel hasn’t had a competent hand on the editorial tiller since Tony Gallagher, Dacre’s deeply unpleasant protégé, was summarily dismissed recently. The staff there, as Watson warns, should be ready for the full Dacre Monty, though: “Dacre's four-letter rages and abuse of staff, including most loyal and senior lieutenants, have hit new highs (or lows). One confirmed: ‘He's acting like it's the last days of Rome.’” That figures.
Some have pretended that Dacre mellowed recently, replacing his “double c**ting” with merely calling those who have incurred his displeasure “fucking dickheads”. But he hasn’t: at the time of the Leveson Inquiry, he was coached to try and stop him effing and blinding by default. Even so, there was a muffled “fuck” at least once during proceedings. He’s gone back to the bad old ways since then. And now he’s really, really angry.
Will he get his hands on the Tel before he spontaneously combusts? Can the Vagina Monologue ride again? One thing is certain: this, if it comes off, will provide excellent spectator sport - a has-been newspaper edited by a modern-day Norma Desmond.
Paul Dacre still is big - it’s the newspapers that got small.