The front page of the Daily Mail on Friday marked a “cultural moment to rival Dylan going electric”, according to one journalist, as it turned the infamous notion of a “Brexit Saboteur” on its head.
The day after Theresa May presented her draft Brexit deal, only to be met with resignations and attacks from Brexiteer Tories, the paper stood by the PM and blasted those who sought to undermine her.
In a lengthy editorial, the paper branded Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Jacob Rees-Mogg “peacocking saboteurs, whose antics risk saddling the country with the worst of all possible Brexit outcomes”.
The choice of the word “saboteur” is surely deliberate - in the wake of May’s decision to call a snap General Election last year, the Daily Mail’s front page depicted a steely-eyed PM with the headline “CRUSH THE SABOTEURS”.
It described May’s decision as a “stunning move” and claimed she was calling the bluff of “Remoaners”.
But now it is hard-line Leavers who are the targets of the Mail’s most bludgeoning adjectives.
Confused? Well, there is of course a simple explanation for this - the Daily Mail has a new editor, Remainer Geordie Greig, who replaced die-hard Brexiteer Paul Dacre in September.
Judging by the comments on the online version of the article, the change in tone does not appear to have gone down too well with readers.
Here are the current top-rated posts:
LOL! No journalist willing to put their name to this ridiculous article?
Nonsense DM. We voted to LEAVE the EU and Mays deal will not do that.
Predictable DM turncoat codswallop. We voted to LEAVE..we didn't vote for a deal where we REMAIN. May, the Establishment and MSM have been plotting to reverse our vote for 2 years. They will not be successful.
I don't believe it. The DM is out of step with the country.
Under Dacre’s tutelage, the Mail was one of the most powerful voices in the country pushing for Brexit.
“Who will speak for England?” the front page asked, before the UK went to the polls in 2016, praising with “Take a bow, Britain!” when the result came through - both went on to receive the customary Twitter ridicule.
In the three years since the result, the Mail continued to rail against anyone it sees as standing in the way of Brexit to account, infamously labelling three respected High Court judges “enemies of the people” when they ruled government would need parliament’s consent to leave the EU.
In stark contrast, Greig was the editor of the Mail on Sunday at the time, putting it at loggerheads with its sister publication.
And while the Mail under Greig is unlikely to go full-Remain and start calling for a People’s Vote, the softening of its tone is glaring.
It’s also significant - the Mail has the second largest circulatrion in the country, 1.2 million readers a day.
It’s also, judging by some of the reactions on Twitter, a bit off-putting.