For those of you watching in black and white – Piers Morgan, Britain’s most shocking TV presenter, has sensationally quit ITV’s Good Morning Britain.  On the face of it after an on-air explosion with Alex Beresford, the BAME weatherman over Piers’ treatment of Meghan Markle. In truth, his resignation has been coming from a long way back.

Not because the audience weren’t with him – huge parts of them are. Just read the comments on the stream of Harry/Meghan stories. GMB had a record audience this week – to see what Piers would say. No. He went because his bosses couldn’t take the heat – the 41,000 complaints to OFCOM. The battering from the woke brigade.  And it seems a direct complaint from the Duchess herself to GMB’s CEO.  

Just as Trinity Mirror boss Sly Bailey couldn’t deal with the Iraq Army brutality story when he was Editor of The Mirror. Just as Rupert Murdoch – by total contrast – rolled with the enormous extravagances of Kelvin MacKenzie’s Sun. His tabloid money tree, shoot to kill journalism. I’m not passing moral judgement – just comparing big balls versus eunuchs.    

This is a piece about the business of news. Not royal racism or weeping princesses and a bolshy presenter – they are all simply the ton loads of grist fed daily into the churning news machine.  This is about how we get our news from this moment forward. 

We have always shied away from shock jock news presenters in the UK. TV reporters and presenters are supposed to tell the news straight.  So you end up with a Murdoch-owned SKY News turning out germ-free news and opinions – a million miles from The Sun which kept it afloat for years with tits, bums and raucous headlines.  Antiseptic opinions don’t cut it now. Not in a world where everyone is a publisher on social, telling @bignamestar precisely what they think of them in an instant.

And the big players get it. Media titans Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Neil, his former Sunday Times Editor and arch TV interviewer, are pouring over £100M into rival TV news channel launches. SKY are on a war footing. The BBC and ITV are under huge threat.  They are all looking for a ratings gamechanger.  (No Alex – we don’t mean you son.  Stick to reading the weather autocue, you’ve had your 15.)

But if the new entrants turn out yet another “News at Ten” they are dead meat. Make it “FU Views at Ten”. Piers as anchor with a rottweiler sidekick and a team of top commentators and analysts to rip the subject to shreds – one hour every night.  Would at the very least give OFCOM a cerebral bypass of the danglies. I’ll watch.

None of us buy newspapers for news. You get that from whatever wakes you up – mobile alerts, mates sending you links, WhatsApp groups. Google, Facebook and Apple News in your timeline.  The world wants opinions – the louder the better.  Who do you trust the most – in your face Piers or fake news Facebook.

The end of this Piers show is only just beginning. Easy to run him down. You don’t know him – I do. He is a great colleague, does his homework, holds his victims to account. By the throat. He turned GMB into a ratings winner. As worrying for the less-gifted bosses than failure.

A success that comes at a price. You can’t control him. And only the top echelons of senior media managers will be able to ride the tiger. But he is no racist, not even close.  What he has are opinions by the boatload – his audience is the over-vocal Twitterati and he knows how to plug them in – 10 times the size of his GMB viewership. When did anyone last mention BBC Breakfast. Thought not.

The true shame – if there is any – is losing it to a no mark weatherman. There’s no love lost, that’s clear. Watch the GMB viewing figures plummet. Autocue Alex isn’t the man to hold onto those. By a street he ain’t.   

Early mornings or the main night time news. He can have his pick, it’s where he will be most powerful.  What he needs is a black, feisty mega opinionated woke female who will give as good as she gets. Ferk me.  That’ll be Meghan.  Now we’d all tune in for that.  

Steve Sampson, Journalist, is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser. He lists “Diplomacy” as a speciality.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Queen Elizabeth of England is a remarkable woman – no-one doubts that.  But just how much can one woman take.  Whatever ails her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, at 99-years-old he is clearly in a life-threatening moment. The Queen must be beside herself, she can’t even visit him in hospital.

The Duke is nearer death than at any time in his long and distinguished life. Prince Charles left a recent hospital visit to him in tears. Not a time you would think for his wayward son Prince Harry to open his heart airing new grievances in a bombshell prime-time interview with TV queen Oprah Winfrey.

The fact that ad breaks are being sold for eye-watering 7-figure sums only makes the whole thing even more grubby. “Royals for Rent” – everything The Queen has fought against.  And what horrendous timing.

Prince William is said to be furious – kept in the dark, embarrassed by his brother’s Hollywood love affair, his mother’s memory hi-jacked by his brother as Harry yet again trots out the “Death of Diana” line.

And that’s just part one.  Harry’s wife Meghan is next up with Oprah – God knows what she will come out with, but it won’t be kind to the Royals. Stand by for more “racist royals” accusations, the system trying to squash a feisty woman of colour, a free-thinker who challenged the old ways. A racist Press hounding her every thought. Or that’s what she would have us think.

CBS will broadcast the show in the USA on Sunday refusing to change the timing, with Oprah and her TV partners making many millions flogging the show round the world – oblivious to calls to behave in good taste.  ITV are supposedly paying £1M for the UK rights to be shown on Monday.  Wow.

The charmless money-grabbing Sussexes have become a by-word for greed and poor taste.  If this programme airs at the very moment the Duke of Edinburgh dies I doubt if Harry could ever show his face back in the UK ever again. He would do well to use covid as an excuse to dodge the funeral.

Steve Sampson, Journalist, is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser. His list “Diplomacy” as a speciality.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


England rugby coach Eddie Jones summed it up beautifully. The lowlifes posting abuse on social are the modern lavatory wall graffiti artists.  Now they’ve got the internet.

Marcus Rashford isn’t the only black footballer getting abuse. The haters will pick on anyone for any reason. Especially if they’re in the public eye. Is Gareth Thomas the only gay rugby player?  Why has no footballer come out as openly gay. Can’t imagine why not.

Football’s governing bodies have written a joint letter to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg setting out the steps they want enforced on the platforms.  “The reality is your platforms remain havens for abuse.”  No kidding, not news.

Paul Lambert – then Captain of Celtic Football Club – wanted my advice. Should he front a campaign against religious bigotry that has stained both sides of The Old Firm for over a century. Rangers being the other half. As captain of the club he understood the importance of his role. Would it be wise, could he make a change.

I was a Director of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, previously a Regional Editor of The Sun.  Great for the newspapers, would have started a raging fire of controversy, TV campaign, quotes from The Pope. He wouldn’t be asked about the game in post-match press conferences. Only about the inevitable death threats to him and his family.

My advice – as his friend – was to give it the biggest body-swerve imaginable. Lead by example by all means, maintain the dignity of his position. But why get engulfed.  Comedian Billy Connolly, huge Celtic fan, loves the club, hardly a shrinking violet. He made a career out of bringing down religious bigotry, intolerance, hatred. But he would never go to an Old Firm match because of the sheer unadulterated hatred.

In the innocent days of newspapers (remember them?) the Letters Editor filed all the loonies in the waste bin. The serious stalkers would appear at reception, be listened to intently – then sent round to a rival newspaper with the name and number of a disliked reporter.

Why haven’t governments acted?  The Freedom of Speech argument is pure cant. There is no excuse for vile abuse. Along with the other excuse that Facebook and Twitter aren’t publishers.  They are failing utterly in their duty to protect the victims.  Their users.

It’s also clear that Russia, China, Iran and others have used the social channels to spread fake news, influence elections, attempt to disrupt democracy.  It really is time now for governments worldwide to act against out-of-control monopolies that are spreading evil, destroying democratic media, hoovering up millions in ad revenues – including ads placed and paid for against fake stories that do untold damage.  Talk about win when you’re lying.

Facebook protests that it is “horrified” at the continued abuse, will employ tougher measures to tackle the issue. Twitter – the worst offender – pleads: “Racist behaviour has no place on our service and when we identify accounts that violate any of the Twitter Rules, we take enforcement action.”  Clearly not well enough.

Prince William, as President of the Football Association, has vowed war on racist thugs who abuse footy players and has called an emergency meeting with figureheads and campaigners to devise plans on how a “multi agency partnership” can work together to stamp out sickening racism in football.”  God Bless him.

The tragedy is that all of this suffocates the tremendous opportunity to make something positive happen – like Marcus’s meals for schoolkids. Or bringing down predator fund managers who profit from manipulating markets. Shining a light on good and evil.

Banning a mad President is one thing. Right now, we are left with the inevitable conclusion that the social networks are a negative force that need to be seriously curbed.  Just ask Marcus.

Steve Sampson, Journalist, is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Rupert Murdoch’s telephone greeting was brutal:” Well, well, well. If it isn’t the great f*cking Andrew Neil”.  Indeed it was. Neil, one of his most successful Editors, had rubbed his master up the wrong way. It wasn’t long before they parted. Bitterly.

Kelvin MacKenzie, The Sun Editor – and without doubt Rupert’s most successful – told Neil he should make that the title of his autobiography. He didn’t, more’s the pity.  

Do we really need another news channel? Murdoch and Neil think we do, going head-to-head, ploughing hundreds of millions into a super-saturated sector. Couple of old Conor McGregors, couple too many biffs to the bonce. One thing for sure – to win they will need to seriously stand out from the crowd.

Social media has killed impartiality. Dare to be different or die.  All of the crap written about “news values” is just an excuse for the less gifted to hide behind. Read the comments on The Times online – better than the original stories. The punters want controversy.

Bigger question – is it too late?  The biggest “news” companies in the world are Google, Facebook, Apple. 10 years ago Murdoch’s News Corp was the world’s largest. Now it’s a lowly 17th with annual revenues of $9B.  Google – at $160B – does that every three weeks. Apple every fortnight. They might not describe themselves as pure news companies. But they’re mowing everyone’s lawn, relegating them to the second page. Longstanding legacy titles going to the wall or for peanuts.  David Montgomery buying The Scotsman and a string of locals on his credit card. A Netflix monthly sub is now more expensive than the BBC licence fee.

But. There’s always a queue of hopefuls determined to lock horns. Just like vaccines, wait for one and a load come along at one go. Here is my take on the runners and riders in the battle for a UK audience – especially the fallers.

BBC NEWS:  My favourite colour – putty. But we all turn to it for the big events, the big story. The Beeb has the best all-round talent – politics, Brexit, the plague. Laura, Katya, Hugh and Fergus. Everyone is too busy kicking the crap out of Auntie to give them credit. And they can’t react – they need the licence fee. The army with the longest borders, they’ll lose a bit but will still be there in another 100 years.  Rightly so. Arise Sir Hugh Ruthven Pym.

GMB – And this is the new starts’ benchmark. Piers Morgan shows what a top-level over-opinionated journalist can do every morning. Doesn’t matter if you don’t like him – he forces you to react, knows his brief better than his victims. He doesn’t just hold power to account. He holds it by the throat. Head and shoulders the best – and daily whacking dear prematurely grey Dan Walker into submission on the Beeb – Frank Bough without the charisma, drugs and prozzies.

NEWS UK: Rupert Murdoch is launching Gotcha! TV in the spring. Except it will be called NEWS UK because they bottled the name. Boring right away. So what will he do different that he didn’t do at SKY? What’s his audience? If it’s trying to tap a youth market he needs to bring the Sun Newspaper cheekiness. If it’s longform Times-style then expect a lot of Saga and stair-lift adverts complete with an audience first in the vax queue. Colostomy TV has got no chance.  Piers Morgan owes you Rupert – go get him at any price. And Gary Lineker – for news comment.      

SKY NEWS:  They always reckoned The Sun dragged them down by association. Phone hacking and a distrust of Murdoch (oh yes) has kept it Omo clean. Slick, polished, germ-free journalism – it’s like vaping. Adam Boulton looks set fit to explode he is so vast. When Al Campbell took the piss, he did. Biggest drama – winsome Sophie Ridge asking Theresa May about President Trump and her “pussy”. And making it sound like a zit. Hmm. Maybe that was a low point.

GB NEWS: Andrew Neil, formerly a Rupert Editor at The Sunday Times and the most forensic interrogator around, is fronting the Discovery backed GB News channel. Huge bucks, $65M of Arab and VC cash, 140 new jobs, big aspirations. He is worth the entry fee on his own. But what about the rest. Times Radio signed loads of top weights. Errm. How’s that going. I would love it if Andrew and Rupert kissed and made up. But there’s more chance of Trump taking the knee. Give Kelvin a show. He is sharper even than Piers. Bring back the news bunny and topless darts.

CHANNEL 4 NEWS: Who said the news had to be unbiased – do they think we’re thick?  Channel 4 has been peddling leftie trot values for years. It’s fantastically done, we all know they’re barking, I love it. Owned by the government – bet you’d forgotten that.  Murdoch or Neil should go to Boris, use the pix they never published, make him an offer he would love to accept – no votes in C4 for posh boys, especially a faux grammar school Etonian. Sack Jon Snow because he is a ridiculous old twat who wears ridiculous ties – and nuke it.  

ITV NEWS AT 10 – One scoop goes a long way. Honourable but tedious. And nobody asks how they are. You put the kettle on, forget to go back. Tom Bradby is son-in-law material. Its heyday was back when Reggie Boozeanquet slurred magnificently through the bulletin.  Sir Trevor, commanding and masterful. Sir Alastair Burnet, regal, unflappable. Why not buy ITN outright. Doesn’t make “real” profits, is owned by willing sellers (Reuters/DailyMail etc). Creates the “news” for ITV and C4. Now that would really put the cat amongst the penguins.

NEWSNIGHT:  I mention it because it has to be a target audience. Emily Maitlis is a goddess, top journalist who goes for it every time. Instead of bollocking her for bias they should give her two loud and proud sidemen to bounce around and let rip. Otherwise dump the programme and use the budget elsewhere, pension off the fogies. Political Editor Nick Watt is a keeper.

RADIO 4 – Hmm. I want to listen but Jeeso is the story selection patchy, many of the interviews too long and rambling.  Nick Robinson, wherefore art thou.  And then there is Times Radio – Radio 4 Lite.  I’m sticking with it out of loyalty to Rupert. But it sounds like just another voice in the crowd.

And finally, to quote Reggie.  How on earth will the shimmering Professor Devi Sridhar find the time to appear on them all.

Darling Devi. I’m not objectifying her – but she is a cracker. I still don’t know who she is because even the Daily Mail can’t tell me who’s in her bubble. And elsewhere. If she is married, boy or girlfriend, social life? But turn the tele on morning, noon and night and up pops the shimmering Devi – replete with the most strangulated accent to come out of Edinburgh since Sean Connery.

She wows them every time, even Piers purrs at the perfect prof. Doesn’t she also advise the Scottish Government? That hasn’t gone just so well. Anyone asked her how China has got rid of Covid without a vaccine? Hey – who cares. Give her a show. Reading the phone book.    

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser. His Linkedin speciality lists “Diplomacy”.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


It always amazes me that the manager of a hugely successful football club resigns – first thing the new man does is sack his backroom staff. The very people who lived and breathed the success all the way. The closest connection with the key employees – the players.

Evidence Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. A shambolic lack of succession planning has led to 10 years of confusion, millions wasted, under performance. Only the Romans did it worse. “Don’t like Caesar, stab him to death”. Look where that got Brutus.   

Sir Alex picked Martin O’Neill for Celtic. Dermot Desmond asked if he would present 3 names for consideration. He gave them one.  Decisive, perfect. The next manager – Gordon Strachan – won the same number of league championships. Continuity.

Yet SAF left Manchester United at precisely the same time as CEO David Gill. Neither apparently knew the other was off. It showed starkly the tenuous nature of the Glazer family’s grip on the business. As owners they were fringe players in the biggest decisions.

Succession planning has never been more important. Owners and shareholders expect the best performance, have a set of highly sophisticated analytical tools at their disposal. So do the staff.  It’s why newspapers have deputies and assistants – the next leader comes from within. 

I had a wry smile at Jamie Bolding – the founder of startlingly good digital business Jungle Creations – who stepped down last week and appointed two new joint CEOs. Smart – one will survive, one will die. The business will win.

I joined Mirror Group as a Director bang at the time Trinity merged with them – hard-bitten national newspaper operators marrying the hicks. Two £1B value businesses joined up – to make one £1B business. The local paper folks – nice people – couldn’t hack it. I sat next to the CEO at dinner one night. Asked him how he was getting along with Mirror Editor Piers Morgan. “Extraordinary guy,“ he said, shaking his head. “He wants to know the circulation every day”.  Unlike the Editor of the Weekly Bugle who made his own beetroot sandwiches for lunch.  Wore a jumper.  

So England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has quit playing. If ever a man was destined to screech off the rails and do a George Best it was Wayne. The fact that he didn’t – despite a couple of right good goes at it – is testimony to himself of course. But right there, with both arms round him, was Sir Alex. It ended sourly, Wayne will appreciate it now. You bet he does. Only SAF could handle Cantona. Shame he never got Gazza. 

Five big management decisions to ponder in sport. The wrong succession plans will lead to years in the wilderness and wasted millions.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:  Will stay as manager of Manchester United. Won’t win the league, this or any other year. At least he brought back Mike Phelan from SAF’s days. The Glazers should have hired Pochettino when he was free. The biggest club in the world needs the biggest names.

Jurgen Klopp:  The Liverpool way used to be to appoint from within. For a time they ruled the world. Now, just as they are building back to those levels, the best manager around has made it clear he is off.  Owners Fenway are tough and shrewd. They won’t be appointing Steven Gerrard.

Toto Wolff:  The Mercedes F1 boss has said he is stepping back. Inspirational, collected, a German with charisma. Rest assured the succession planning will be supremely efficient and ordered. As will be replacing “Sir” Hamilton. Who can dance round contract talks all he likes – leave Mercedes, win no more races. Toto has got that all covered. No danger.

Eddie Jones:  Signed an extension for another two years as England rugby coach which is a blessing for the Twickenham blazers. After Sir Clive Woodward disappeared, so did the team. Eddie is right up there with Jurgen.

Pep Guardiola:  He is Joe the Toff. Manchester City don’t deserve him, he looks uncomfortable. By the time his contract runs down in another two years he will have been there for five. The longest he has ever done at a club. There is more to life for him than football – golf for one. For all his genius there isn’t any passion or soul and Colin Bell’s death only reminds everyone of how it used to be.

And one last total “succession planning” disaster which is too late to bring back from the precipice. Trump. One of the first things The President gets is “the football”. The nuclear codes. I only hope and pray it’s “lost” if the most barmy leader since Caligula promoted his horse decides to revenge-nuke Georgia in his final days.  That’s the trouble with democracy – Obama’s legacy was Trump, now the oldest man in the covid queue is next up. Which way to the bunker?

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


What on earth does Lewis Hamilton do now.  He wins Formula 1 races with ease, smashes records, fights racial inequality. Earning hundreds of millions from the sport, he uses his fame and fortune to push his agenda.

Now Formula 1, the high priests of excess and his paymasters, have added Saudi Arabia to the list of next season’s Grands Prix.  An oil sated country which murders the occasional journalist and oppresses women. Their human rights record is, to many observers, utterly shameful. They treat their camels better than people.   

Formula 1 and the FIA have been roundly lambasted for “sport washing”. One commentator spoke for many with ““We race as one, but when F1 can get money it doesn’t matter anymore,” his disappointment referencing Formula One’s #WeRaceAsOne anti-racism initiative that was launched earlier this year.

Since the new GP was announced Lewis – who has been everywhere in the media – has remained steadfastly silent. A compliant BBC interviewer simpered through a honey-suckled interview where Lewis pushed his anti-racist agenda. But Saudi was never mentioned. Imagine Piers Morgan letting that one go?

To be clear. Only the most Trumpian loony fringe nutter supports racism in any shape or form. Don’t ask us pasty faced white folk. Ask the black community in any city in any country – they’ll tell you whether it’s working or not.  It’s not working.

If you’re a student of modern American political history, it started for my generation with the murder of JFK. A beacon of hope. They murdered Bobby and Martin Luther King six months apart. A year later they put a man on the moon. The greatest sportsman of all times was a black boxer. He had to change his name to Ali. 50 years later little has changed. Not even with a black President whose legacy was – Trump.

So all power to Lewis. But that’s the dilemma with going very public on your principals – you’ve got to live by them. 

MVP: Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford has achieved an extraordinary success taking the lumbering UK government to task over free school meals – and winning. He is credible, his engagement authentic.

WTF: The Duke of Edinburgh campaigned for the World Wildlife Foundation – and blasted pheasants to feathers on royal estates.

GOAT: Without doubt Eric Liddell, the Olympic Scot who declined to run on a Sunday because of his faith and cost himself a gold medal. He won gold in the unfancied 400 and died in a Japanese prison of war camp. Because of his beliefs.

Lewis has to make it real. He didn’t win the BBC SPOTY. Didn’t make it into the world’s Top 20 most influential sportsmen last month.

He would earn the world’s true respect if he cut short his Mercedes contract talks and donated his entire salary to his charitable causes. We all know he would drive for a pound. And probably never win another race in the few years he has left if he switched teams. So take the millions and hand a whack over to groups fighting for the rights of women in Saudi Arabia.

Where – you won’t be surprised to learn – divorced women have just recently won custody of their children after years of being cast off and cast out. Female students can only now carry their phones on campus. Women over 21 can travel independently. And wow – women can now actually attend sporting events in some cities. After all, they just been allowed to drive a car.

Maybe Lewis will even see some of them at the Grand Prix. Unless he decides to stand on his principles and boycott it.  Now that would be walking the talk.  

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Being born Scottish – like being a homosexual – isn’t a lifestyle choice. Both footballing issues this past week as it happens.

I had no choice in the first. Never tried the second.  My prep school matron saw to that. Spartam Nactus.

I don’t know what was more shocking.  Our football team qualifying for a proper tournament in a quarter of a century. The players knowing the words to “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” – a song even further back from 1977. And singing it. Or FA chairman Greg Clarke’s car crash assertion to MPs that being gay was a “life choice”.    

Football is a funny old game. Just not if you’re Scottish.  Not only have finally we qualified for The Euros since an age before Google, Strictly Come Dancing and the SNP as vote winners, but we’re taking on the English in the same tourney. A chance to re-live our greatest moment when we became World Champions in 1968 humbling them 3-2 in their own backyard. Forgetting 5-past-Kennedy at the same ground.   

Can we win?  Of course. Just as every year I believe we can win the 6 Nations. Which I really believe now after trouncing the Welsh in the 6 Nations.

I have a small but significant part in our Scottish footballing history. I came up with the “Greatest Ever Scotland Team” event when I was a Daily Record/Sunday Mail Director. The nation voted, it was a hotly contested affair. Even Trump would have approved. All culminating in the biggest ever dinner under canvass. Stuck it up on the Hampden pitch – which so badly damaged what was already a mud patch it had to be re-turfed.

I flew Sir Alex up by jet to read out the teamlines – along with Denis, Sir Bobby, Paddy and Greatest Ever Goal scorer Archie Gemmill.  Andy Goram – my sometime golf partner – would only come if I settled a libel case he had against the paper. He was the goalie, legal settled. Rangers had a Champions League replay, so we had to move the date a week. Which meant Willie Miller could make the dinner. Didn’t have the heart to tell Big Eck he wasn’t in the team as his defensive partner. He had paid for two tables.  

As a finale one of my guests – BBC Controller and old friend Kenny MacQuarrie – watched in horror as a bottle of lager being “held” by one of my staff somehow came into contact with his brightest comedy star Ford Kiernon’s head.  Like all great footballing occasions, it ended in blood.

Oh.  And Denis Law was voted the Great Ever Player. Which meant King Kenny wasn’t. 

So it’s England next summer. I don’t hate the English like many of my separatist country folk. Andy Murray got sideswiped on that one, remember?  The Editor of The Sun – the great Kelvin – had never been north of Watford. He still referred to us as Tartan Tosspots. In a loving way.

Unlike Miss Sturgeon, I don’t want to separate from them.  That will make a lot of sense when the next round of bat plague hits us and we need a £10B lifeline.

Instead I have a deep-seated respect for them. Their bloody-mindedness, in-built sense of superiority, glorious pageantry. And great looking birds. London – what a city.

I support them against any other team bar us obviously. Especially the rugby team. But I would never pull an England shirt over my head – that’s too much.  At best they look on us with mild amusement, we’re already clamouring for tickets, they’ll pick it up on the tele. Unless it’s a corporate freebie. And does it clash with Wimbledon? And don’t make too much noise.

Denis summed it up. Going amongst them? It’s missionary work. So yes – I love them dearly, can’t wait to bloody hump them in the Euros. So I can boogie.

*Extra time: While we were being beaten 1-3 by England a few years back my pal tried to lighten the mood. “What do Siamese twins from Drumchapel call their penis. Oor Wullie”.  Nope. Didn’t help then either.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser. 

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Sir Harold Evans, newspaper editor and publisher, was born on June 28, 1928. He died of congestive heart failure on September 23, 2020, aged 92 

Harold Evans may well have been one of the greatest ever newspaper Editors.  He was also a parable of a modern Britain rising in the 60s. His father was a railway engine driver. His grandfather was illiterate.  

If you remember black and white television, you remember Evans’ tumultuous years as the campaigning Editor of the Sunday Times. He exposed the thalidomide scandal, a pregnancy drug which cruelly deformed babies. He unmasked MI6 spy Kim Philby as a Russian double agent and locked horns with the Government over a scandalous ministerial memoir.   

He was the classic outsider. The brilliant working-class hero who rose through the ranks on pure intellect, not patronage. Handsome, sharp, driven and opinionated. In his world newspapers were for news and causes. The one battle he couldn’t win was with the greatest outsider of them all – his owner and publisher Rupert Murdoch.   

Harry – to his friends – was everywhere. On radio and TV, meeting and greeting the famous and powerful. Murdoch thought him no more than Macavity, found his grandstanding a bore. His lack of respect and financial rigour irksome. Evans wanted to be left alone to run the paper as he saw fit taking decisions without reference.  

He sneered at Murdoch’s apparent low moral fibre and support for Margaret Thatcher who he loathed and attacked at every opportunity. The meritocracy that allowed him to rise had been usurped by the unworthy.  

He had also failed to buy the paper from then owners Thomson. Murdoch had stolen his prize with false promises and dirty tabloid money. It’s easy to forget that the paper had been kept off the streets for a whole year by power-mad unions. Whatever happened to them. Those winters of discontent.  

Rupert shrewdly moved him to The Times as Editor. If you know newspapers, you know the vastly different pace. It was a poisoned chalice. He lasted a year – the shortest tenure of any Editor in the paper’s history.  

That didn’t stop him. He dumped his wife and went to America with his sexy lover Tina Brown. Got married to her, started a new family and career as a publisher of some of the great political memoirs of the age.  They founded the Daily Beast and wowed Manhattan society.  

And continued to put the knife into Murdoch as every turn supporting the Hacked Off movement – to the surprise of his old colleagues. 

Without question he was a brilliant practitioner. His pages still stand up today. As an Editor he was everywhere, over every full stop.  The papers he ran lost money by the boatload and continued to do so years under Murdoch, who has poured in over £100M top keep them afloat. But now they are profitable in a leaner subscription age while The Sun loses money.  

But don’t look for legacy. There is no such thing, only faded memories. Legacy will be Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple phones. Changing the world in ways that Evans, Cudlipp, English and MacKenzie could never have dreamt. Or Murdoch for that matter.  

Harold Evans has gone. His generation of working-class heroes changed everything and nothing. We are governed by an old Etonian.  Who sat in Cabinet with another old Etonian as Prime Minister.  We get our news on our phones. Not sure if the Russians or the Chinese have hacked it. If newspapers are a shadow of their former selves. It’s because they are. Name the current Editors of our biggest publications. You can’t. We had better hope that another Evans comes along, lots like him. Who else will hold power to account. Not students dancing on Tik Tok.  

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser. 

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Where did Sean Connery – our biggest Hollywood star – get that famous voice. The tones that have melted millions of women the world over. The most – and worst – imitated accent.

Certainly not Edinburgh, the city of his birth. It’s most definitely not the voice of a working-class milkman. The genuine Edinburgh twang has an insouciant quality, that rise at the end of a sentence that ends in a question, but not a question.

Neither is it the voice of a Scotsman who went to Eton then Tony Blair’s old school Fettes. The back story that James Bond author Ian Fleming gave his famous spy to accommodate casting Sean in the role that defined him.  The upmarket public school boy Scot is altogether more refined, more mellow.

No. Sean’s voice is all his own.  At its best, a deep rich drawl that can carry the threat of violence and then seduction. A man not to be trifled with. His hallmark, used for every role from James Bond to a Russian submariner to Indiana Jones’ dad. It helps that he is uncommonly handsome.

And something the non-Scots ear would ever pick up – almost effeminate in quieter moments.  Listen to him when he is making a point, trying to get his story over. His voice lightens. You need to be local to pick it up.  But it is definitely effeminate.

He is a fantastic man. I killed one of the great scoops he gave me over dinner. I also got him within an ace of writing his autobiography with a friend of mine. His publishers picked another man, the chemistry wasn’t there, it never got done.

The story. It was the week of the Dunblane shooting. Sean was out dining with venerable banker Sir Angus Grossart. The pair joined our table, both in good sorts.  Sean banged the table: “They need to ban handguns in this country right now or we’ll end up like America”.  Jeeso. 007. The spy naked without his Walther PPK.  The man who nailed the man with the golden gun and bevy of Bond beauties.  Now he wants the government to act decisively after the Dunblane tragedy.  

I would have had him up Downing Street with a million signatures and a grateful Prime Minister.  Held the front page and News at Ten for weeks.

Then he warmed to the subject. “And we send the Army into Pilton, line the drug pushers up against the wall and shoot them all”. Aha.

He wanted to do his autobiography and whittled the potential collaborators down to two. A well-known author and a friend of mine James Dalrymple, a spectacular features writer who graced The Independent and The Sunday Times. Same background as Sean. Working class, red Clydeside in Jim’s case, a quick fisted genius whose talent took him to the top. A man’s man. They got on like a house on fire.

Wasn’t to be. And neither was the book. Sean phoned me later apologetically. Jim phoned me ecstatic to have spent time with a hero.

I last saw him in a week they ran one of his old movies Zardos.  He played the hero dressed most of the film in a pair of pink grundies.  “A yes. Shzardosh. That was an interesting wardrobe fitting”. The twinkle suggested it was a good memory. 

So today he turns 90. Our greatest living Scot?  Yes of course, Sir Alex Ferguson up there with him. Men who knew how to keep their guard up. Ask Sean’s caddies if he plays golf for fun. Of course he does – most of all he plays to win.   

If you haven’t heard the Petula Clark story. It’s not true, but it’s bloody funny. Tell you over a drink some time.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


There are Boris Johnsons in every newspaper office. The posher the paper, the more extravagant their personalities. Swanning about in features – they could never handle hard news.

Easy to track down to the nearest wine bar, loud and public school, flashing their cash (borrowed), always late with their copy. Trailed by a bevy of exotic women with three names, not great looking but invariably easy with their charms. The Chablis spotted Bojos. Loved by everyone. Totally chaotic.

The last thing on earth you would do is give them any kind of authority over people. Anything that required organisation like working on the newsdesk. Organising a schedule, getting the paper out. These are people who can’t do their expenses on time, thousands behind in advances.

And yet. The prime example of buffoonery – the Prime Minister of the country. No wonder this government lurches from crisis to disaster. Headless, rudderless, clueless. Flattening the sombrero – Bojo won’t need that on his Scottish glamping hols. Holding onto the tent pegs more like.

It all becomes clear. Gove – apparently a former journalist – is at best a number 4 on the newsdesk. The guy who gets to the office early to make up for his lack of talent. More organised than Bojo, but none of the charm. You shudder when he is standing as number 1 on a Sunday. His chance to shine on the proper journalists’ day off. Everyone terrified he will drop it big time.

No wonder Cummings has so much power. He is the decision maker without portfolio because the rest of them are caught in the headlights. He does the job that Johnson should be doing but is clearly incapable. But that can’t work – it isn’t working. Johnson hiding behind his SPAD, reacting to events, not leading them, then getting it disastrously wrong when they try catch-up. Exam results being just the latest farce.

The civil servants – many of whom are first rate born organisers – must be ending themselves. They are too professional to let the whole thing collapse. But they are now all fielding at long stop to keep the score of self-inflicted disasters to manageable levels.

Is it that the government is simply useless and the pandemic has exposed them in a merciless way never seen in “peace time”. Many believe that’s the case. There are many who think that the standard of MPs has to be much higher, the threshold for entry set at higher levels to attract the top brains.

This is a modern professional world which needs leaders of experience and dynamism to lead. Not speech makers with rallying cries and nothing to back them up.

We have 650 MPs, many of them lobby fodder. The “better” ones are sitting as the most talent-free cabinet many can remember. An MP’s basic pay is £81,000. That salary should be doubled and the number of MPs halved.

That way we attract MPs of stature and experience. Then we wouldn’t have a fireplace salesman as Education Secretary. And a feature writer as PM.

Boris may find the midges in Scotland this week a pleasant relief from the sharks waiting for his return.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Rupert Murdoch is possibly the greatest media baron of all time. Make that definitely. He is also one of the greatest financiers of the age creating billions of dollars in value. His vision, his risk, his commercial creations, whopping great takeovers, his genius.

RISING SUN: Kelvin MacKenzie with  Murdoch

The BBC decided to trot out a series of no-hopers and has-beens for its 3-part mini-series. A hatchet job – a paper hatchet wielded by amateurs. I couldn’t possibly match the critique by his most successful Editor. Just Google “The real Rupert Murdoch by Kelvin MacKenzie”.  Eviscerating.

For full disclosure (I love that, so woke). I worked as an Editor in varying degrees for The Sun. I had the greatest time, one of the all-time great bollockings, learned more than I can remember.  It was like being a Senator in Caligula’s Rome.  The Murdoch ethos was “we’re in it for the long haul”. They meant it. Just don’t take a third light.

He saved Fleet Street. Of that there is no doubt. Post Wapping, the very newspapers who have since mercilessly attacked him would have been closed. The Guardian for sure. He changed not just the print unions, but the whole iniquity of the arrogant barons strutting up Downing Street with their ruinous demands.

Maybe too far the other way, I grant you. But would you have rather had the miners? The Railwaymen?  The taxi drivers of London who clocked into newspapers for a shift, drove fares for 8 hours, came back to clock out and pick up their disgraceful “earnings”.  Your uncollected bins stacked up 30 feet high.  A shambles of a nation which needed fixing.

People forget how much he was part of that solution.  I don’t remember Tony Blair rushing to undo employment law, secondary picketing, the right to manage – all created by Mrs Thatcher alongside Murdoch’s extraordinary fortitude.

f course he was deeply enmeshed in politics. So was every media I have ever worked for, especially if you were the local paper of the rising politician. As a Mirror Group junior on the Tavistock Times I phoned Michael Heseltine at home on a Wednesday. We spoke to his voters, he made the time. If we had a story to float we got MPs to sign an Early Day Motion. The Mirror used to do the same with Labour until it got tired and flabby. Rupert just did it at a far higher level. With far greater success.

What the programme missed was how the lines between his media empire became blurred in the UK. They thought they could create Camelot. The newspapers keeping pliant politicians in their camp, nodding through Rupert’s ambition to own Manchester United, consume all of SKY. Even put their own man in Number 10. Trouble was his local dealmakers weren’t in his class. They forgot that church and state don’t mix. He couldn’t be everywhere. The phone hacking scandal exposed it all.

Is he a moral man?  “Page 3 Birds” seem terribly tame in these days of shocking online Twitter and Facebook abuse.  All those female Labour MPs frothing at the mouth, denouncing him in The House of Commons.

But the fact is that the Editors of The Sun – first Larry Lamb and then the master Kelvin MacKenzie – would never have existed without Rupert. The Sun paid Elton John £1M and made a huge story out of it.  Piers Morgan was sacked by an inexperienced Mirror CEO for a page 1 story no-one talks about now. Did him a favour. Whatever Rupert did, he was never as dangerous as Facebook, their control over our data and democracy. Hiding behind the excuse of not being a media company.  Compared to them he is a saint. Whatever you want to accuse him of, Murdoch has never shirked it.  The softest thing in his head are his teeth.

But it’s his great deal making that was the biggest miss.  How he won the Times and Sunday Times, the Wall Street Journal. Took a failing Sun from a lazy Mirror Group who laughed at him. Pretty soon they were crying. The millions he poured into SKY taking him to the brink of collapse.  How he saved the Times especially, year after year at a cost of many hundreds of millions. I would have loved to get behind the thinking, the strategy. How he plotted his course right round the globe. Any of those deals would been a life changer. He has done it time and again. All in the head of one remarkable man.

So. My bollocking.  Kelvin sent me to be Scottish Editor.  It was a quiet dozy news list one very dozy day. A dozy reporter from The Herald phones me. Rupert is buying Glasgow Rangers, is it true? Parrumph. Of course not, how stupid are they. How stupid am I. “Well done, fine piece of reporting, did you know he is also looking at Partick Thistle as a feeder club?  Great story just don’t quote me”.   Haha. What a jape.

Next day. Page 1 of The Herald. Me quoted full bhuna. Including the Thistle line. Oh crap. I’m for it now. No I’m not. Rupert’s in New York. He will never read some tatty cutting from a low circulation Jock broadsheet.

One month later, on comes Bill O’Neill, his number 2. Aussie man-mountain, not to be trifled with.  “Yeeeeees.  Steve. Hazzz it going. Well we know you’ve been busy. Rupert gets the joke. He just wants to be part of it next time. OK?”. All said dead quiet, menacing. Line dead. Gulp.

The Queen’s detectives arresting two Sun reporters gate crashing her Ghillies’ Ball is another story entirely. We were, of course, completely innocent. Honest Rupert.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


It’s hard to explain to your average Englishman in the street why the Scots dislike them quite so much. Hate them even. I know. I go amongst them doing missionary work.

Their genuine surprise – hurt even – quickly turns to “stuff the Jocks” when you tell them the simple truth – The Scots don’t trust the English.  Especially now as they see billions flooding north to an ungrateful, uncouth Jocks. Their reasoning goes if you don’t like us, give us our money back and sod off.

Still Boris soldiers on, bumping elbows with crab fishermen in Orkney, flattening sombreros and whacking moles. It’s seen as an inappropriate piece of electioneering.  Nicola Sturgeon plays it brilliantly. She is serious, steadfast – and probably just as guilty as the Westminster crew of getting it shatteringly wrong on Corona.  The Teflon First Minister, in power for years but still presenting the SNP as the party of protest. Everything bad is all the fault of the English. Who go on and on making it easy for her.

Maggie treated Scotland like foreign policy. I was an Editor when she inflicted Poll Tax under obedient Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth.  Cameron couldn’t give a stuff and he had better credentials. Blair couldn’t get his head round it – especially when a previously compliant Daily Record turned on Labour with daily vicious attacks. I was a Director of Record and Sunday Mail.  Didn’t matter that we fired The Editor, the damage was done – to Labour and the paper.

As Editor of The Sun in Scotland I gave space to Jim Sillars, recognising that the SNP had a growing constituency and policies beyond simply independence. The paper went on to fully embrace the SNP to the surprise of Mr Murdoch.

It comes down to trust – trust in someone not to screw it up. Why Major beat Kinnock. Why Cameron beat Miliband. Why Boris beat Corbyn.  Precisely why Nicola remains the overwhelming choice as leader in Scotland. Trust in her policies. Doesn’t matter if she’s right or wrong, she is the only person who will fight for the country. That’s the narrative.

I bet you the average man or woman in any Scottish high street wouldn’t have a clue on the merits of the Barnett Formula. The £4.6B extra Scotland has had in Corona hand-outs is irrelevant – nobody is saying thanks north of Hadrian’s Wall. In fact the opposite – it’s Scotland’s by right, we sent them all that oil.  Seen the price of a barrel recently?

In my view Independence will never come about.  The banking crisis. The great saviour of oil revenues a myth. Corona. You can point all you want towards Eire and Norway. They’re OK, Scotland will be as well. Really? A deep-seated fear of disaster will see off independence. Fear that the future will be as bad as a highland clearance.  Banking would go (what’s left of it), headquarters of the multi-nationals, foreign investment. Scots voices doing business would be heard in London, not Edinburgh or Glasgow. It will be fear. Not anything Boris or the Tories will come up with.

One incident which still makes me laugh. Maggie ventured north one time and astonishingly risked the wrath of an Old Firm game at Ibrox. As the only posh and properly educated person in the welcoming party I was bidden to shepherd Lord Hesketh, the delightful rotund peer in her entourage who famously had an F1 team with James Hunt as his driver.

He was mesmerised by the ocean of red, white and blue. The florid faces of 40,000 loyalists belting their lungs out about a long ago battle and a message for the Bishop of Rome.

I suppose I could have translated. But he was oblivious. Intoxicated. Stonking down two pies in the members’ lounge he said to me breathlessly:” What a sight. Don’t let anyone say that The Union is at peril”.

The English – they don’t get it. They really don’t get it.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Rupert Murdoch famously bollocked The Sun’s mercurial Editor Kelvin MacKenzie for his “SUN WOT WON IT” General Election headline. Labour leader Neil Kinnock had been trounced finally and completely. He thought Kelvin was grandstanding. He didn’t get it – it’s what Labour themselves thought. But in those days The Sun was generating millions of profit every week, whatever Kelvin did was good for Rupert’s bottom line.

The tabloid cash cow undoubtedly helped save Murdoch from total meltdown over SKY. And definitely propped up The Times which consistently lost tens of millions a year. The roles couldn’t be more reversed.  The Times and Sunday Times are now nicely in the black, The Times with a record number of 350,000 subscribers. The Sun lost £90M in the last financial year.


The shape of newspapers is becoming clearer every day – it’s the rise of the broadsheets, it’s subscription.  The Daily Telegraph doing so well it returned furlough money. The Guardian now in profit.

The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday are both brilliant newspapers, the standard bearers since the Leveson phone tapping inquiry. The Mail has overtaken The Sun to be the biggest daily seller – but at a measly 850,000 sales a day. Even allowing for the plague that’s frighteningly low numbers. They are shedding readers each year in double digits. DailyMail+ is a class product. Mailonline generates £140M in revenues. A third of Buzzfeed and with ginormous accumulated losses. There is no comparison with traditional ad values versus online.

The modern media giants – VICE, Buzzfeed, The Athletic – are not immune. They are all shedding jobs. In Buzzfeed’s case the classic “levelling up” from exploding melons to serious news creators has proved as bogus as it sounded. Founder Jonah Peretti is a false profit. (sic)

The scary one is REACH Plc – owners of the Mirror and Express plus a slew of metropolitan media. Put them side by side with the New York Times and it makes sobering reading.

REACH this week dumped 550 jobs – many of them in editorial. The NYT passed 6M total subscribers.  REACH generates £100M from its entire digital. NYT generates $800M – $420M from news subscribers. They added 500,000 new subscribers in the last quarter – more than the Times total.

What REACH does next is a real worry with new CEO Scottish businessman Jim Mullen taking over at a time of intense crisis. Slashing jobs is like eating your foot. You end up hopping round in a circle. The staff who remain feel abandoned on a sinking ship. It’s how the management addresses the underlying revenue issues. They don’t have the subscription option in numbers. The local papers are shredded. Their nationals are read by old people, mainly casual buyers. The rest they give away free on websites.

They apparently have a Director of Inventions. Me neither.  But now’s your time – whoever you are.

One straw in the wind for them to consider. The journalism is not in doubt – top class. The Daily Mirror has 209K followers on Instagram – less than a pastry chef.  The Express – 12,000. The Sun – 320K.  The Guardian – a whopping 3.2M.  The New York Times? 9.6M. As in nearly 10 million. It doesn’t take a Director of Inventions to work that one out.

There’s one thing they could do overnight to drive an engaged 1M audience. An audience they very clearly don’t have, one they could speak with. Not at. Upsell them, add new value. Link them to every one of their websites and newspapers. I doubt they will get it.

There are many new ways to speak to your audience – and the audience who don’t hear you currently. The best media operators are there now. Murdoch will win out – quality journalism will rule. And pay handsomely for itself.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. Based in Scotland, he is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.




Posted in Media | Leave a comment


“Bring Britain Back”. Now there’s a slogan.  A clear message to the nation – it’s time to come out of lockdown. If you’re English that is. Memorable too – we’re starting the long climb out of darkness. A table thumper.

On the other hand.  “Stay Alert”. Eh?  Thank you Corporal Jones and the Dad’s Army scriptwriters.  I know it’s a short order brief – but that is appalling.  No direct message, no call to action, confused, instantly forgettable. Crap.  As a former Editor told me rather unhelpfully one day:” Stop sending us down your sh*t, we’ve got enough sh*t of our own”.

Right from “flattening the sombrero” to Ministers impersonating Daleks every evening – it all looks shockingly amateur, rushed, ill conceived.

Whoever is running the communications’ strategy needs to go the Alastair Campbell playbook. Tony Blair’s henchman was the consummate pro, ran the media message with a rod of iron. No journalist was under any misunderstanding – if Alastair said it, print it. If anyone leaked he snapped their legs. Including MPs on his own side who were given their lines by bleeper.  The message was unequivocal.

He saved the Monarchy during the Death of Diana. Got The Queen on track. Came up with the epitaph of all time with the “People’s Princess” line for Diana.

This isn’t about being trite. Get this wrong and the government could kill tens of thousands more.  Trite is “flattening the sombrero” – that early Johnson quip. “Don’t worry everyone, matron will be round later with a jolly good dose of prune juice, that’ll do the trick”.  Says the shaggy haired one from University Challenge who boffs a surprising number of lahs.  Per-leese.

The slogans have to be backed up with real actions – Trust The People. The House of Commons was the right place to deliver his new message. This was the equivalent of a mega Budget speech, he should have commandeered the dispatch box, delivered the new direction with gravitas. Instead he blundered with his Sunday broadcast giving pasty faced Sir Kier Starmer the high ground.

The stakes are extreme. One of our leaders is going to be very right or very wrong. Nicola Sturgeon has made her dislike, distrust and political enmity startlingly clear – Boris Johnson is dangerously wrong, a fool. She couldn’t be clearer.

She had better be right, the natives are restless. The emergency mega hospital The Jubilee in Glasgow – capacity 1,000 – has less than 5 patients. Ayrshire has 7 or less in ICU, there are 5 or less in the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Forth Valley, Highlands, Orkney, Shetland, Tayside and Western Isles. A total of 75 patients in ICU for the whole of Scotland.  People want to get back to normal. The young especially are prepared to take a chance, believe they will get Corona and recover.

In England less than one per cent of deaths in hospitals have been under the age of 40. The risk of opening schools is even smaller. Just 11 people under the age of 20 have succumbed to the dreaded virus.   The vast majority of deaths have been among people 65 and over. Nearly half of those were 85 and older. Now there’s a clear message – protect our old people. Keep them safe, stay indoors.

The Swedish government never really bothered with lockdown.  They have just apologised for not doing enough to protect old people, most of their deaths among the over 70s. Next worst hit has been migrants. Other than gatherings of over 50 people being banned, their economy has remained open.

Sturgeon’s single career ambition is over.  There will be no “Inde Ref 2” in her lifetime. Or anyone else’s. The Welsh have no clout, neither (happily) do the Northern Irish.

Boris is the single leader who can claim victory. He blustered his way to an extraordinary General Election victory on a simple Brexit message.  Now he needs to sod the scientists and get on the pulse of the people. He has a chance to redeem himself, win the fightback. Drop the crap slogans, trust in the judgement that made him a winner.

Otherwise Corona will kill a lot of people who never caught it.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications including The Daily Record and Sunday Mail. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. He is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Let’s get one thing clear immediately. The virus started in China. I’ll always love Peking Duck, but bat soup? I don’t care what the woke Lord Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says. There is nothing racist about all this. More importantly, the Chinese are now recovering fastest and they will steal a lead on the rest of the world. There is only one solution for the rest of us. Get infected, tough it out, get back to work.

Trillion pound bill for Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak may turn out to be the best Prime Minister we’re yet to have, but not even he can magic up a trillion pounds to sub our wages to Christmas.

Forget Boris’s jaunty “We’ll beat this in 12 weeks”. Batsh*t. The Chancellor’s first monster rescue package was a £330 billion loan – the government only pays if those loans default. The pledge to meet 80 per cent of wages costs an eye-watering £240bn a quarter. The UK is a £2 trillion economy. Unsustainable.

Find a vaccine – yeah, yeah. By 2021. Unless the nation catches coronavirus, survives and gets back to work this will end in anarchy and bankrupt Britain. And trust me – that’s the message the Government really wants to put out.

Instead of setting up testing centres, they should give the young, the fit, the option of going through Infection Centres. Start the #I’VEHADIT movement. One week of hell, a small price to pay.

Get Nike and Adidas to make millions of skip caps and T shirts with what would be the world’s biggest hashtag. #I’VEHADIT – I am disease free and off down the pub. Coronas all round, barman.

You old people – stay out the way because we don’t have the capacity to look after you, no NHS beds. Lock yourself away please, come out of hiding when the rest have had it. Best Mother’s Day advice – don’t kill the old dears with misplaced kindness.

I have the science to back this up – but please consult your own physician, this should not be taken as medical advice. Unless you’re bonkers. I am in contact with a leading surgeon, his hospital is on a war footing, the beds already crammed with corona victims. I have also spoken to a survivor.

The Coronavirus causes the disease Covid 19

In time-honoured fashion I will maintain his anonymity. He is in his early 30s. He returned from Dubai end of last week, felt increasingly poorly. By Sunday he was full on corona. He also infected his wife and one-year-old son.

By Wednesday he was able to join a conference call. Had a dreadful throat, headaches for two days, cramps, no nausea, but all deeply unpleasant. His one-year-old was the least affected. By Friday – one week post Dubai – he was recovering nicely, thankful that to be clear and able to see his near family in complete safety. He is young, healthy – and cured.

If you’re hoarding loo roll, it could be a wise move. The surgeon reports that some victims are suffering serious diarrhoea and nausea. All the rest of the symptoms as well. Especially a weird taste sensation. No-one can quite describe it. Next week all soon-to-be-qualified students – doctors and nurses – are being press ganged onto wards in anticipation of Armageddon.

My solution: There is one. Apart from Rishi Sunak for PM. We need out of this right now, and that means infecting the fittest fastest. The world can’t survive six months of this. Money, food will run out. The rule of law will break down.

I hear a lot from Tim Martin, the rent-a-quote boss of JD Wetherspoon. We are now paying 80 per cent of your staff’s wages. Select the youngest and fittest for a volunteer army, lead them personally to the nearest hospital and sign up to assist. We are risking our young medics – so get your bar staff doing the heavy lifting. Better than sitting at home whining.

And that goes for everyone else in all other supported industries whose markets have collapsed. Get helping, get infected, get in work. Once you’re clear, stick on your #I’VEHADIT T-shirt.

Most of all – go back to work, get the country moving again. The Chancellor’s hero, super economist John Maynard Keynes, said prophetically: “In the long run we are all dead”. A century ago, he didn’t have bat plague in mind.

Steve Sampson is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, and a Director of Trinity Mirror publications. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. He is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Former Sun Newspaper Executive Steve Sampson on the Philip Schofield gay disclosure that was more soft focus than shocking

For those of you watching in black and white. Much-loved daytime telly star Phillip Schofield revealed in a “shock” statement last Friday that he is gay. He had been wrestling with his sexual identity for years apparently. Now he wanted to get it off his chest.

Who better to be with him live on TV reading out his carefully crafted statement than his longstanding presenting partner Holly Willoughby. Cue a steady stream of stars congratulating Phil on his honesty. Including his wife and kids who knew nothing until the last moment – statement or gayness. Apparently.

Holly Willoughby shows love for Phil after his revelation on their television show

And that’s where social media took the story in a totally different direction from mainstream media. Lurid comments – even beneath The Sun’s soft-focus “exclusive” with Phil – told a different story. Over the weekend other newspapers ran pieces saying it was common knowledge on the various shows fronted by him and Holly that he was gay. Social media went much further. Some referred to it as a seminal moment.

Confused? Sure, even more than Phil after digesting that lot.

Whatever the truth, Schofield had chosen well bringing in PR heavyweight Phil Hall to mastermind his outing. Hall is a longstanding friend of mine. Great Editor of the News of the World, the UK’s top man for a crisis. If anyone knows the value of celebrity and the danger to newspapers of dragging down their heroes it’s Phil Hall.

When Editor he got a tremendous backlash for exposing England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio in a drug sting. Bang to rights, all caught on video. The public didn’t like a hero being laid low – even if he was breaking every rule in the book. When I worked on The Sun we lost readers for attacking Elton John. His flamboyant homosexuality might have shocked the news desk. The readers loved him all the more.

If The Sun has pulled its punches on Schofield, then that’s a highly pragmatic judgement. Last line of their “exclusive” story – he refused to say if he was in a gay relationship. Last line mind. Kind, very kind. Sweet that this was the first weekend of the new lady editor. Nice hand grenade.

Does it matter? Isn’t Phillip Schofield’s sex life a private matter? Of course it is. The public might be interested, but it’s hardly in the public interest. And no modern tabloid editor is going to write the headline PHIL IN GAY SCANDAL. Even if it was remotely true. They would be lashed for it by their readers.

Leave Phillip and his very public private life to one side. The serious issue is who to believe. Who peddles fake news? Or invented news, PR dressed as fact? Who swallows that truth? I mean the journalists, not the just the readers. Do we now learn a version of facts from the Internet completely counter to the established media? Is that the new truth?

The newspapers live or die by their claim that trust belongs with them, the lies live on social media. There’s a big difference between someone’s sex life being news and manipulating the news to suit a PR spin.

I suspect people frankly don’t give much of a damn. Even if Phil had been found reversing out of a camel in Regent Street at 3am. The “story” will die. If it doesn’t – and there’s more to come – then there’s a bigger issue for Good Morning using their airtime, their brands, their presenters to laud “Brave Phil”. Their studios for Phil to give his Sun interview.

Last word to the very funny twitter post which summed up the “revelations”: “I was more amazed when he came out as grey”. Stings ain’t what they used to be.

Steve Sampson journalist is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, a Director of Trinity Mirror publications including the Daily Record and Sunday Mail and Business Insider. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. He is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Newspaper Executive and Media Investor Steve Sampson on the Royal Rift with the Press, revelations of the rich and famous and where that leaves our best-selling newspapers

I bet you Harry has been listening to Elton John. He famously took The Sun for £1M when it meant something. The paper alleged that the singer had been cavorting with a variety of young men – a story that seems fantastically passé 30 years on.

Mick Jagger told Elton to reverse away from it like an Italian tank. He didn’t know the paper was keen to pay. It has been wrong – more importantly the campaign was costing readers. Sun readers loved Elton, didn’t mind if he was a flamboyant homosexual. In fact, they rather liked it.

Newspapers used to lose readers for two reasons. You offended them or they died. Today it’s Apple Wot Won It. Apple news is on every kid’s iPhone for free. They don’t buy papers, they don’t even read them if they’re lying around.

People don’t want to see their heroes destroyed. I’m not sure they ever really did. Editors expect a huge backlash now on social. Recent examples have made the news – in every sense.

The Sun and Ben Stokes. Britain’s biggest tabloid recalls a horror family shoot-out from before Ben was even born. True story but caused massive upset to hero Ben and outcry amongst fans and the general public. Kiss goodbye to any co-operation from the England Cricket Team.
My Verdict: Out for a rosy. Unless Stokes was prepared to tell the story himself as part of a series or a buy-up, running it when he was the hero of the summer was bound to spark a backlash. Maybe OK a generation ago when the paper splashed on its top cricket columnist Ian Botham, a West Indies tour and a broken bed. And still expected his piece for tomorrow’s sports pages. But not today. This man is an icon. Make him your friend. Now he is an implacable enemy.

The Sunday Mirror and Gareth Thomas. Britain’s first gay rugby star and now leading gay rights campaigner reveals he has HIV in The Sunday Mirror. More than that, he was blackmailed into the revelation. But not by the Sunday Mirror. He chose the softer focus Sunday tabloid because he knew and trusted their staff and Editor. A genuine exclusive which led the agenda for more than just publication day. Wily coyote – Editor Peter Willis – knows the power of celebrity clout in a positive story.
My Verdict: Spot on, big story, nothing wrong with a sympathetic treatment on P1. All-round win.

The Mail On Sunday and Prince Harry. Oo-err. This is going to end in a tear tsunami. Harry has carpet-bombed the UK Press with writs and legals for all manner of crimes – imagined and real – going back 15 years. The present-day Mail on Sunday has incurred his wrath for running a letter from Meghan to her dad. Breach of copyright, data protection, downright theft. You tabloid b*stards. You name it.

The MoS Editor – relatively new and the former number 2 at The Daily Mail – has come out swinging. This is a fight to the death. If it ever gets that far. Two huge beachmaster elephant seals slugging it out for supremacy over a piece of sand. It will end up with both of them bloodied and battered. Especially Duchess Meghan, the ultimate loser.

Harry is poorly advised. Maybe he won’t take advice. Except from Elton when picking up the keys to the jet. Whose new book makes liberal mention of Harry’s mum.

This isn’t just about those slimy Fleet Street hacks and their low tactics. This is about how two young Princes who deserved the love and understanding of the country, who seem to have lost their path. Topless pool in Vegas – makes us love you even more Harry. Bollocking a SKY reporter on the latest tour for asking a reasonable question (you even know her name) makes you look more than a trifle tightly wrapped, sir. And rude.

But the Press can be right and still lose the battle for readers, hearts and minds. We can go on battering Harry and Meghan. Who wins that one. I have no doubt they are already planning to emigrate, immerse themselves in Hollywood and charity. Kiss goodbye the UK and our Press. Markle -v- Markle. Chewed up, spat out. What a shame. Hmm.

My verdict: Genuine sadness. If I were still doing it, I would make a special case for those two Princes. That’s not going soft. The Mail on Sunday will defend their actions all day long. This is not a gross act of tabloid invasion. But is that right in the court of public opinion. The readership.

My Summary: There are a lot less reasons to buy a newspaper. It’s a pastime for old people. The broadsheets are making headway through subscription. The Times with 300K+ subs. The Guardian is profitable after decades of red ink. They also have 2.1M followers on Instagram. They speak to their readers. The Sun lost £90M+ last year. They have 265K followers on IG. A tenth of a paper we used to laugh at. Not now. None of them will ever – repeat never – be the commercial force, attract a new young readership. Certainly not to dead trees. Mailonline is huge, reviled, a fantastic piece of work, William will be king before it makes a return.

The world has never been able to communicate so easily. We seem to be even further apart. A Minster loses his job for touching a woman’s knee. A Prime Minister allegedly squeezes a woman’s thigh 20 years ago and it’s a story. A President… (take in PA).

There are days you read the Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and marvel at the quality of journalism, the investment. Post the Leveson inquiry they were the standard bearers. Who else will hold power to account if not newspapers like those.

Harry’s legal confetti will go nowhere. Bigger issue for our popular Press is where do they.

Steve Sampson journalist is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, a Director of Trinity Mirror publications including the Daily Record and Sunday Mail and Business Insider. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. He is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Newspaper Executive and Media Investor Steve Sampson on the rise of influencers who encourage us to spend on the latest brands – whether we want to or not.

BBC boss Lord Hall gave Match of the Day host Gary Lineker carte blanche to keep tweeting on politics. Well, why not. He couldn’t say anything else could he. If he banned him he was stamping on free speech. Then he would have to rule on 101 other BBC staffers from pets to cooking programmes who think Brexit is Satan.

Strict BBC impartiality? Nah, Gary’s just an old sweetie. So what if he bitch slaps Peter Shilton and Chris Waddle for being pro-Brexit?

Me? I like it. Gary will never change my views or my vote. He’s not trying to. He has a point of view and a big audience and a sharp wit. It’s as much entertainment as serious politicking. No. The real influence lies on social media with people you’ve never heard of.


Sun: Did it swing votes? Mirror: Mrs May still won Holly: You would. Vote for her

The kind of political clout wielded by the high and mighty went out with The Sun’s brilliant Kinnock lightbulb Page One. A piss-take which made the undecideds pause and think on Election Day – then go and vote Major, the fools. The best educated electorate ever won’t fall for that. As Brexit showed. (#ironybutton)

My old colleague Piers Morgan has more opinions than both Houses of Parliament and is a former Editor of the Daily Mirror. The ultimate megaphone who doesn’t give a rats. He knows he’ll win nothing by being vanilla but he didn’t change votes then and he won’t now. Or win gun control. But he’s compulsive viewing.

Andrew Neil is probably the most feared TV interviewer – a roasting from him would swing votes. No wonder many politicians simply refuse to be skewered by Neil. He is an influencer.

Holly Willoughby and fashion. Whole different issue. Holly’s true magic is that she looks down-to-earth and approachable, glamourous and aspirational all at once. Women like her, men want her. But ordinary she ain’t. That “act” is down to her sheer professionalism, a lot of hard work behind the scenes and a sharp mind. She doesn’t even look as though she is actually selling you anything, yet her Marks & Spencer promotion instantly sold out lines she was wearing. So Holly is a true influencer – she changes markets. She needs to keep that “ordinary” quality, the next TV project crucial. Ignore pushy agent speak.

Which is why Lewis Hamilton punches way below his mark as an influencer. He is a phoney. In an F1 record-breaking year he is beaten into second place at BBC’s SPOTY by a cyclist, then makes a totally phoney speech. He has won only once, cyclists have won four times in 10 years. Andy Murray has won it three times – because he is genuine. Those tears tug a nation’s heart, they are real and so is he.


Football presenters Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher are influencers. Not simply on football matches but on the issues. Their SKY discussion on racism post the Raheem Sterling treatment by Chelsea fans was informative and truthful. And SKY trusted them with the air time. As a result it was played many times across social media. Not the least to their millions of followers. Mainly white? Surely a good thing – because mainly white people are racist.

Jamie Oliver is top for food and nutrition and a genuine influencer because he is bloody good at it. He and Gordon Ramsay (in a different way) have propelled the healthy eating/healthy homestyle genre to the top of public conscious. Where Jamie is head and shoulders the top is in book sales at way over 100M copies sold. All the rest put together and he is still out ahead. His new book is storming it, his Southend Pier programme just the latest in a long line of hits. (I got thrown out of his St Paul’s restaurant after a well pissy lunch. Well, it was 7pm, no offence taken).

Top of the pile though are The Royals. They can influence everything from fashion and animal welfare to mental health. They clear shelves of product. More importantly they have pushed mental welfare to the top of the issues’ pile. That has come from a startling honesty never before seen by a family not known for its inter-personal warmth.

Their influence comes with steel strings attached. They have been born into influence, they need the public’s approval at all times. The death of Diana showed an out of touch Royal Family how quickly the public mood could swing. The two Princes are keenly aware of where to tread and where to stay well clear. Shame they can’t fix politics.


But for pure influencer clout 2018 was the Year of Social. Not just the headliners like KSI and Logan Paul with tens of millions of followers. But the micro influencers with small, hugely engaged networks. How do you think the megas like LadBible and Unilad do it. They turn in billions of video views from an engaged global audience – and if they’re short on a brand deal they use an enormous longtail of influencer/interest groups to deliver views. The biggest change in brand spend for 2019 will be away from legacy media to targeted audiences through influencer networks.

My personal favourite is Joe Suggs. Dismissed as a lightweight, out week one, never going to get the glamour bird, just some guy off the internet. Anything but, he showed why millions of users follow him, nearly won the damn thing – and waltzed off with his hotter than hot partner Dianne Buswell. What a man. That’s influence.
UK’s Top Influencers:
The Royals – a new generation of young stars, attractive and interesting
Holly Willoughby – the influencer sensation of 2018
KSI/Joe Suggs – rise of the internet, the real market movers
Brave Bison/LadBible/Unilad – UK-based, top Facebook channels, millions of engaged users 24/7
Jamie Oliver (food/health) – 120M+ book sales don’t lie. Genius in a kitchen with a healthy message
Gary Neville/Jamie Carragher – more than just football analysis, thought provokers
Andrew Neil – miles the top political interviewer, politicians avoid him and rightly so

Steve Sampson journalist is former Assistant, Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun newspaper, a Director of Trinity Mirror publications including the Daily Record and Sunday Mail as well as Business Insider. He was a launch presenter of Radio5 Live, founder of First Press Publishing and contributes to the BBC. He is an investor/owner across a series of digital initiatives, and a media adviser.

Posted in Media | Leave a comment


Nicola Sturgeon Telegraph TweetNicola Sturgeon just dropped the first tactical nuclear weapon of the Election. Not in a speech or an interview on TV – she bypassed traditional media to slam the Daily Telegraph in capital letters on her Twitter account as soon as the first editions dropped. And she didn’t miss them.

She might want to scrap Trident but the redoubtable Nicola let loose at the Tory paper for claiming she wanted Cameron to win the Election. A view she apparently expressed in a private conversation with the French ambassador in February, one that she entirely denies.

BOOM – “@Telegraph don’t you think you should update this story with the statements from both myself and the French Ambassador that it’s untrue?” she blasted.

BANG – Too late. The Daily Mail has jumped all over it and splashed in Scotland: “NICOLA: I WANT TORIES TO WIN” and for good measure their English readers are served the headline that she is the “MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN IN BRITAIN”.

WHAM – this is going to get dirty and social media is the new attack weapon. Forget cuddly focus group messages and soothing words for the voters. Twitter is now the blunt force weapon of choice. Who needs a phalanx of advisors and PR men when you can drop the enemy right in the goolies in 140 characters?

In my view, the battlefield just got levelled. When I was Editor of the Scottish Sun I was “advised” to drop a tub load on Malcolm Rifkind when was a Tory Minister. Maggie had decided he was disloyal. Not “one of us”. Same with Heseltine. In a later election, the paper undoubtedly libelled a senior non-Tory threat to Maggie by running a patently untrue item of scandal. Maggie won, he got paid out tax-free. Cheap at half the price.

None of that will wash this time round. Nicola will most certainly have you if you try it on.

  • At the start of the week, I wrote about Hobbit actor Martin Freeman launching a Labour supporting video on YouTube. He must have known he would cop a tsunami from one or other of the newspapers. The Daily Mail grants his wish today in a double page spread under the headline “Red Ed’s Hypocrite Hobbit is a Tax Avoider”. I’m sure the loyalty-gong will sooth the pain if Ed gets the keys.

Steve Sampson is the former Northern and Scottish Editor of The Sun and also served as a Director of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail as well as Business Insider. He now leads a series of digital initiatives and investments.

Posted in Conservative Party, Conservatives, Labour, Media, Newspapers, SNP, Social Media, Steve Sampson Media, Twitter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Nicola SturgeonNicola Sturgeon isn’t a sex symbol – but the newspapers are obsessed with her sex. The Tories launched a poster campaign with Miliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket – old hat. The Daily Mail’s cartoonist had poor Ed stuffed between Nicola’s breasts.

If that wasn’t subtle enough for their readers, they went even further and revealed in a long, long piece the story behind her nickname “gnasher”. Apparently for inflicting painful retribution during an intimate sex act on a boyfriend who had annoyed her. (The Mail must be pretty sure that its Scottish readers don’t vote SNP).

When I was Editor of the Scottish Sun, I signed SNP heavyweight Jim Sillars as a columnist and advisor. We had to be different. My former papers The Daily Record and Sunday Mail, run by Tories, slavishly followed Labour. My sense was that the Scottish people didn’t want full independence, but they most definitely wanted to be governed a hell of a lot better, not by a London-centric elite who treated anything north of the border as foreign policy.

The voters wanted politicians prepared to scrap tooth and nail for a better Scotland. Labour were tired, predictable and failing to provide the answer. No change there then.

The appeal of the SNP was that they were tied to no one and a had big point to make – you couldn’t trust the so-called “big” parties to deliver and they were going to make damn sure they were held to account every second of every day.

For the first time – through The Scottish Sun – the SNP had access to the pages of a national newspaper on a regular basis and the opportunity to move from a party of rebellion to genuine contenders. If not forming a government, certainly creating an influence for change.

Labour couldn’t work us out – and interestingly they never tried, instead standing just out of arm’s length. And that’s where they have stayed since, ahead of the biggest single political stuffing coming their way in a few short weeks’ time.

The Scottish Sun subsequently fully embraced the SNP. Easy to see why – Salmond and Sturgeon are the best politicians by a country mile. Nicola showed that in the leaders’ TV debate.  She has got that magic touch, even the English voters admire her. She is right in your face, but too warm a person to suffer from the Maggie finger-wagging lecturing mode. And too smart.

Jim Murphy by contrast is a cold fish, has that feel of being parachuted in by London – too little, too late, trying to save the second raters on the Labour benches in Edinburgh.

Nicola is the real thing, always has been. She is heading for a massive landslide. And the newspapers will attack her hair, her dress and use her sex against her. That would be a mistake – it will only make the voters love her more.

+  As someone who has a LinkedIn profile picture taken some years ago, I make no apology for the Nicola picture above. It’s how I think of her.

Steve Sampson – Media ■ Innovator ■ Journalist ■ Broadcaster ■ Venturist ■ Founder and CEO Various Digital Companies

Posted in Conservatives, Labour, Media, Newspapers, Politics, SNP, Steve Sampson Media, The Sun | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment