Not really. I think -- you know, this whole, you know, association thing, we're not natural members of any clubs. When we were magazine -- well, we are still magazine publishers, but when we were only magazine publishers, we were never members of -- what was it called? The PPA, Periodical Publishers Association, because they didn't respect the people involved in it. So we weren't ever members of it.
The fact is we ended up, after many years, having the biggest magazine on the news stands of the world, so, you know, most of these guys have gone out of business.
So when it came to the MPA, it was a similar attitude. We call it the biscuit and tea brigade, they all sit there and talk a lot of rubbish and be hypocritical and then try to stab you in the back, so it wasn't our natural area.
They had a thing called the Newspaper Marketing Association, which was around GBP 50,000, GBP 60,000 a year, which I didn't want to do but the board decided to carry on with. It went on for four or five years and then the managing director in charge of advertising sales said to the board, "We need to spend now a quarter of a million pounds a year on this Newspaper Marketing Association", and I said, "What's it going to do?" He said -- he tried to explain what it was going to do and I couldn't understand it, so I asked them to bring in the chief executive of the Newspaper Marketing Association and they explained to me that everyone was putting a quarter of a million pounds to help sell advertising to advertisers and to give awareness to newspapers, which I couldn't quite get, because I think newspapers are pretty prominent in 55,000 outlets and millions and millions of copies every day of newspapers are being sold, and we ourselves have a sales team of over 100 people selling advertising, and so do the other newspaper groups, they may have more, so what was the point in being members of this newspaper marketing association?
"Oh, you have to be part of it, you'll see your revenues go down and you'll see the future of newspapers" and da da da da da. What finally did it for me was what we do -- we try and encourage promotion in the group and, you know, one the little girls at reception was working in my office three days a week, 17-year-old, 18-year-old kid, bright girl, and we were paying her, I don't know, £17,000, £18,000 a year, and she gave her notice in. Out of interest I said, "Where are you going?" She said, "I'm going to the Newspaper Marketing Association". I said, "Oh, very good, congratulations". She said, "Yes, I'm going to get £35,000 a year."
This was an association that our competitors, idiots, I say, had basically -- just nonsense.
So when it came to the PCC, you had that thinking behind it, plus you had the fact, you know, of the way they strung out poor old Peter Hill, because at the end of the day, all the newspapers were doing the same, you know, plus or minus, you know, it was a major story, and basically I saw it that we were the only honest ones and straightforward ones. We stood up and said, "Yes, we got it wrong, there's the money for the McCann fighting fund, let's try and help find McCann", the poor little girl, "Let's get rid of it, put it on the front page and apologise properly", which is what they did.
Then to see the chairman of the PCC, whatever his name is, you know, stand on BBC television and vilify Peter Hill and vilify Express Newspapers was sort of a final -- you know, like a -- you know, that was like the final straw. Because I felt it was a useless organisation run by people who wanted tea and biscuits and phone hackers, you know, and it was run by the people that hated our guts, that wanted us out of business, that tried every day to put us out of business, and yet smiled at us and were completely ineffective.
I mean, what else do you want me to say about the PCC?