As Private Eye editor Ian Hislop once pointed out, the Daily Mail “is owned by the Rothermere family … The current Lord Rothermere’s father loved Great Britain so much he went to live in France as a tax exile … He then passed on the nom-dom status to his son who doesn’t actually pay the normal amount of tax despite owning a newspaper that’s owned through various tax companies in Bermuda”. The Murdoch titles fare no better.
After all, Rupe is a US citizen. And the Barclay brother (now singular) running the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph has also placed himself offshore. GB News appears to be inhabiting the same world: as Press Gazette has conceded, “Discovery Inc, the US-based network which has a documentary partnership with the BBC in the UK, was the first major investor with reports of it investing around £20m”.
That’s a third of the rumoured £60 million raised. Anyone else? “Dubai-based investment group Legatum, known for its funding of think tank the Legatum Institute which launched in 2007, has also come on board”. And despite all those sneak previews of their London studios, GB News’ key weekday evening show will come from, er, France.
The news came from the weekly Popbitch email, rather than any admission from the broadcaster: “GB News has finally announced its launch date, but it doesn't seem as if the project's frontman, Andrew Neil, is going to be back to GB in time for the grand début. Thanks to travel restrictions, he's been trapped chez Neil in the south of France for the last little while - a country currently on the amber list”. That should surprise no-one.
He's been put out to Grasse ho ho ho
After all, the Companies House filing for All Perspectives Limited, which owns GB News, lists Brillo’s correspondence address as “22 Old Queen Street, London, England, SW1H 9HP” - the head office of the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine - and his country of residence as “France” (two other directors reside in the UAE, and one in the USA).
So how do the Popbitch team reckon that Brillo will be getting round his little local locational difficulty? “The whispered workaround? Andrew's show is going to be broadcast from a studio somewhere on the French Riviera”. How very British of him.
Their email signs off the item with this observation: “Critics will no doubt scoff at the idea of GB News's flagship show getting beamed in from France, but in fairness it was always the plan to break the London media stranglehold. And besides, if you want to take on les élites what better place to find them than the glittering Côte d’Azur?” Yes, well.
Much of the money coming from abroad, and now it looks increasingly like the key weekday evening show will be based in a country forming part of the hated EU.
But GB News will be challenging the elites. Presumably by looking in the mirror.
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