Public Affairs: Soap Box - Jon McLeod, chairman, corporate & public affairs, Weber Shandwick
'MP Tom Watson champions your Sunday Sun'. Not the sort of headline you thought you would see ahead of the launch of The Sun on Sunday. Actually, the Labour heavyweight was referring to the proud and gritty regional title for the North East and Cumbria, the Sunday Sun, founded 1919.
But News International was looking for political endorsement in the run-up to the weekend's launch - much of which backfired. A Wapping ring-round of Labour MPs reportedly asked if they would endorse The Sun on Sunday, 'like Ed Miliband'. It soon became apparent he was doing no such thing, although his supposed mentor, Lord Maurice Glasman, was teed-up to write a column until the Labour high command got wind of the idea and promptly boshed it.
Meanwhile, on the right, free schools 'pedlar' Toby Young celebrated being signed up for a column, presumably so he can sing the praises of Rupe's favourite cabinet minister Michael Gove.
'In a three-way contest between Boris Johnson, George Osborne and Gove, my money would be on Gove,' oozed Young.
Sadly for Gove, the unsurprising endorsement was overshadowed by an unseemly Twitter spat that saw Young indelicately refer to the Milly Dowler case as 'that murdered girl thing'.
Other columnists reflecting our core British values included Roy Keane. Remember him walking his labrador after he stormed out of Ireland's 2002 Word Cup campaign?
Weirder still was the gulf between female role models Katie Price and the woman she chose to praise in her first column, slain war reporter Marie Colvin.
Then there was cyber-chef Heston Blumenthal, who closed his Fat Duck restaurant for nearly three weeks in 2009 after a food poisoning outbreak laid low 500 diners. And John Sentamu, Archbishop of York? Or did I dream that? Welcome to News International's world of weird.
This article was first published on prweek.com
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