As Byline Media revealed in a recent series of articles, there has been a moderate to vicious power struggle playing out in that part of the Baby Shard bunker occupied by the Sun newspaper. The most obvious recent casualty has been discredited and deeply unpleasant former editor Kelvin McFilth. But before long he will be followed through the exit door by equally unpleasant Sun editor Tony Gallagher.
Tony Gallagher - far less pleasant than he looks
Why Gallagher should be on his way after the Murdoch goons have secured Theresa May the mandate that will not make one jot of difference to her Brexit negotiating position has been partly made clear in the Byline articles: he never fully appreciated that the Sun, unlike the Daily Mail where he honed his craft, is not just about the sheer spite of orchestrated attacks on public figures, but the fun aspect of reader engagement.
That latter part caused the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks to gradually lose faith in Gallagher’s abilities. But there was another problem for him, and it is a problem that affects far too many of the Sun’s staffers. Tony Gallagher, whisper it quietly, does not know what life is like for the vast majority of the Sun’s readers. Worse, he very publicly gives the impression that he does not care about that problem.
While he oversees Sun editorials telling “THERESA May’s war on our complacent metropolitan elite on behalf of working people has been a long time coming … Too many in Westminster sneer at their own voters’ views, lives and patriotism as offensive, parochial and backward. Yet they are there to represent us”, Gallagher is, er, sneering at his own readers, as he confirms himself as a prime practitioner of conspicuous consumption.
As I noted recently, Tone has had no problem telling his Twitter followers how many reassuringly expensive restaurants he frequents in between having to do that inconvenient thing called work. And after a pause following his being called out for it, he’s returned to rub his readers’ noses in it once again. Twice.
“Food tweets... knockout lunch at @PalatinoLondon - superb new @StevieParle place. Veal, onglet, borlotti beans” he enthused at the end of April. One perusal of the Palatino menu tells you all you need to know: getting through antipasto, primo, secondo, a side dish (like those borlotti beans), afters and a large glass of collapso and you’re looking at the thick end of £50. For one person. Fifty quid for lunch.
And on the same day he was raving over “Breakfast at @moritotapas is packing them in. No wonder. The best huevos rotos ever. And amazing Moroccan bread”. Another £30 a head touch for a good feed. Most of the Sun’s readers, if they can stretch to eating out at all, won’t be able to look at much more than a Friday fish supper and a beer down the local Spoons. And breakfast will be limited to the Bayswater B&B they stopped at when they came to London for a treat on a cheap advance train ticket to see the sights.
Of course, Ms Brooks may also indulge in this kind of conspicuous consumption. She just doesn’t lord it over her readers so much. That is just another nail in the coffin of Tony Gallagher’s time at the Sun. He is now a dead man walking.