Hell has no fury like an editor scorned

Paul Dacre, a doyen of the right and former long term editor of the Daily Mail, is raging. In a letter published in The Times this morning, he tells the world that he wants to set the record straight following “increasingly hysterical speculation from the left-wing media” on whether he would be applying again to be chair of Ofcom. He tells us he will not be submitting a new application while lambasting civil servants for working from home and “exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness”.

This episode arises from an attempt by Boris Johnson to stich up the Ofcom appointment. When the original selection panel did not appoint Dacre, Boris Johnson called for the selection panel and criteria to be changed, echoes of how he later tried to change the rules over the suspension of Owen Paterson. This debacle has only pumped more oxygen on the flames of sleaze that are engulfing Boris Johnson’s government.

It has been a squalid affair. Dacre was never suitable to oversee the freedom of broadcasting. Although a strong defender of freedom of speech himself, he is an avowed opponent of the BBC. In one BBC interview he said:

“The BBC is, in every corpuscle of its corporate body, against the values of conservatism, with a small “c”, which, I would argue, just happens to be the values held by millions of Britons.”

Dacre tells us, “I am on record as describing the BBC as a great, civilising force which I would die in a ditch to defend.” But he and Charles Moore of the Telegraph have been among the sternest critics of the BBC.

According to Dacre himself, he was turned down because although “I’d given a good performance, showing a solid grasp of technological issues, I’d revealed strong convictions that were incompatible with the role of an independent chairmanship.”

That I would have thought was obvious before any interview. Announcing that he is going into the private sector – where was he before? – Dacre warns us:

“The civil service will control (and leak) everything; the process could take a year in which your life will be put on hold; and if you are possessed of an independent mind and are unassociated with the liberal-left, you will have more chance of winning the lottery than getting the job.”

Conservative Home must be disappointed with that as it advertises public positions it believes should be stuffed with Tories most days.

As a parting shot, Paul Dacre tells us:

“I’m taking up an exciting new job in the private sector that, in a climate that is increasingly hostile to business, struggles to create the wealth to pay for all those senior civil servants working from home so they can spend more time exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness, safe in the knowledge that it is they, not elected politicians, who really run this country.”

Former Chancellor George Osborne had his say this morning:

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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One Comment

  • Nigel Jones 20th Nov '21 - 6:36pm

    I believe Paul Dacre when he says he wants the BBC to exist. Culture Minister Nadine Dorries said the same in an interview this week. She hinted at the reason by strongly saying we should work to get rid of the left-wing bias in the BBC.
    So now we know, Tories want the BBC to exist so that it can be yet another major outlet for right wing views ! As stated in an article in the Guardian by Andy Beckett, the BBC no longer challenges government as strongly as it once did, so at long last right-wingers see hope for themselves in that institution becoming a conservative organisation loved by the majority of people who don’t like being disturbed by truth in the form of radical questions and views.

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