As a rising star in the Daily Mail newsroom in the 1980s, Geordie Greig greatly irked Paul Dacre – at the time the news editor – when he announced he was heading off to work for the new Today newspaper. Dacre told the younger man he was finished.
Since then, Greig has enjoyed informing Dacre of each step upwards he has taken in his career – though of course he didn’t need telling when Greig replaced him as editor of the Daily Mail. Now, however, the younger man might be about to pull off the greatest bit of one-upmanship of all.
Dacre’s obsession with bagging a peerage has been well documented, but Greig may be about to beat him into the Lords, if Boris Johnson is frustrated in his attempts to stuff the place full of cronies and toadies. I am reliably informed that Greig is also in the running for a title.
A number of influential figures have recommended him, not simply for his services to journalism – he made a valiant attempt to detoxify the Daily Mail – but also to the arts. A man of parts, Greig, as chairman of the Friends of the National Libraries, got together an unprecedented consortium of libraries and museums last year to raise £15m to save the Honresfield Library for the nation. The treasure trove included a letter in which Jane Austen anticipated the end of a love affair and a handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems that was once believed lost.
Half the amount was donated by Sir Leonard Blavatnik, Britain’s richest man. Greig has influential friends.