Why No Media Plurality Worries Over Mirror-Express Merger?

The usual suspects who raise a hue and cry about media plurality seem strangely silent about the Mirror – Express merger. Print sector media plurality is being dramatically reduced from four major media groups to 3 plus the also rans. The new group will have about a quarter market share of the UK dead tree press. As the print market withers it is turning oligopolistic…

Tom Watson is silent, the usual gobby ‘media plurality’ campaigners are also mute. The Guardian isn’t going on about the hackers at the Mirror not being fit and proper to take over the Express. There are genuine public interest concerns; plurality is being reduced and the distinctive political voice of the Express is being put at risk. Are plurality concerns only applicable to Rupert Murdoch?

Mail and Express Spare Theresa

Dacre and Desmond went all in with their praise for May’s manifesto and “social care revolution” last week, only to be made to look like chumps by the u-turn. The Mail and Express generously spare Theresa any front page blushes…

UPDATE: Though the Mail’s Stephen Glover tells Newsnight: “There’s no doubt the original policy was a cock-up and an own goal.”

Express Reviews Desmond’s Book… Five Stars!

“He displays a fine line in self-deprecating wit,” says Virginia Blackburn, in a 5-star review of Richard Desmond’s new book. For the Express…

Miliband Gags Press Over Dirty Encounter on Hampstead Heath

This morning’s Jewish Telegraph claims Ed Miliband threatened to sue them if they published Richard Desmond’s account of a meeting between the media mogul and former Labour leader. The paper’s splash alleges:

“The former Labour leader was furious over allegations that he had made offensive remarks to Desmond about Israeli action against Palestinians. The Daily Express owner had told the Jewish Telegraph that Miliband had verbally attacked Israel during a chance encounter on London’s Hampstead Heath.

Miliband’s spokesman, who had seen a full transcript of Desmond’s interview, said: “You should expect legal action and/or a complaint to the press watchdog if you go ahead with publication.”

They go on:

“Desmond alleged that Miliband made certain remarks about Israel, which we have chosen not to print.

The newspaper chief suggested that Miliband had been “in such a rage. I couldn’t stop him – he was going berserk [about Israel’s actions]”.”

So what did angry Ed say?

And what is it with him meeting people on Hampstead Heath? Maybe Gareth can mediate…

Desmond’s Bill

Remember Desmond’s PFL with the FT? Well:

Given Desmond’s company banned kettles from the newsroom, it’s unlikely his own papers would nod this through. 

UPDATE: Uh oh…

You Can’t Fault Desmond’s Taste in Wine

So Richard Desmond knows all about a PFL.

The FT reports:

“In Richard Desmond’s hands, simple objects become terrifying. There’s the receptionist’s bell that he uses to interrupt executives in board meetings, or the cups of tea that occasionally fly over underlings.

For me, the terror begins when he picks up the wine list. This is Coq d’Argent, a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Bank of England. The prices look like cricket scores — and Desmond is on the hunt for an innings victory.

“We’ll have that one,” he says, before I can intervene. As the sommelier skips away, the sum of £580 lingers on my retina.
So this, I think, is how it feels to be screwed by Richard Desmond. It took less than 10 minutes.”

Interestingly – given the million quid he has given UKIP – Desmond is not sure about leaving Europe:

“I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows,” he says. “But we need a referendum.”

Not a great week for big UKIP donors.

Arron Banks has put 150 jobs at risk in the South West by moving his business operations to South Africa.

So much for the party slogan ‘Believe in Britain’.

Confirmed: Desmond Gives a Million to UKIP

As Guido reported earlier, and the Express have now confirmed in an ‘exclusive’, Richard Desmond has opened his chequebook and donated a million pounds to UKIP. He says:

“I firmly believe in Ukip. It’s a party for good, ordinary British people. It is not run by elitists. They are struggling to have a voice. They do not have a massive party machine or highly paid public relations people. They are human; they are not perfect and they do not pretend to be. But what they believe in is the best for the British people. They are the sort of people who will stand up for people who are struggling.

I don’t believe Cameron has delivered on his promises. I don’t want to be a member of a club. As Groucho Marx said, I don’t want to join any club that would have me as a member. I always have challenged the establishment and I want to continue to challenge it. I’m giving this money because I believe….as Emerson, Lake and Palmer might put it… Ukip’s political outlook is a ‘fanare for the common man. I want to back our customers, Daily Express readers, who believe in many of Ukip’s common-sense policies on the EU and immigration and taxation. That is why I am putting my hand in my pocket; it is for my customers, my readers. I hope by doing this, it will encourage more people to do the same. 

I want them to stand up like me and be counted. I believe there are still people out there who are frightened to stand up for something new and I hope they will follow my example.”

You read it here first…

Understand the donation came as a surprise to UKIP. Senior staffers, as well as press officers did not know it was coming when Guido put it to them three hours ago. Their laughs of ‘no way’ were genuine…

Dirty Protest in Dirty Desmond’s Lift

News reaches Media Guido that a disgruntled employee took a dump yesterday in Express and Star proprietor Richard Desmond’s lift in the billionaire’s Northern & Shell Thames side lair.

After yet another round of sackings and budget cuts, it is not believed at this point that Dirty Des personally found the dirty deed.

Has Desmond’s backing of UKIP left his staff steaming mad?

Friday Caption Contest (Dirty Donations Edition)

Entries in the comments please…

Pic via Spectator.

BREAKING: Dirty Desmond Donates £300,000 to UKIP

Seems he’s forgiven Patrick O’Flynn then…

UPDATE: 

Who will ask Farage the Paxo questions?

 



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Quote of the Day

Paul Goodman as sagacious as ever on Arron’s entryism…

“… one must watch for former UKIP donors and a very few left-of-Party-centre MPs propping each other up, like drunks at the end of a pub crawl. It suits the former to claim the power to organise a programme of mass infiltration. It suits the latter to react by complaining about extremist entryism. The rest of us should keep a cool head.”

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