Andrew Neil

Daily Mail, MailPlus and MailOnline

Week-in, week-out Andrew Neil turns his laser-like focus onto everything from the shenanigans at Westminster to the machinations of the rich and powerful via his heavy-hitting columns in the Daily Mail. A must-read, they are not only written with unrivalled authority, but with the power not just to provoke debate but to change the opinions of their readers.

But three columns stand out as exemplars of his political acumen and razor-sharp analysis – and, of course, how his run-ins with the people at the top inform his judgements.

A year after the start of the war in Ukraine, Neil raised the spectre of an even more terrifying conflict: a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Drawing on high-level contacts in US intelligence and the State Department, he concluded that it is not a question of if Beijing will attack the breakaway island but when. Apart from being motivated by a desire to bring Taiwan back under the motherland’s control, there is the little matter of it being home to tech companies which manufacture 90 cent of the world’s sophisticated microchips. Taipei would rather destroy this capacity than yield it to Beijing. As Neil wrote, such a move would ‘hurl the global economy not into a recession, but a prolonged depression with mass unemployment and social unrest in many major economies’. But Neil does not restrict himself to geopolitics. When the Netflix drama series Succession was nearing its climax, who better to address the similarities between the fictional dynasty run by the irascible Logan Roy and the one headed up by his old boss Rupert Murdoch? What followed was not just a fascinating dissection of sibling rivalry but a first-hand account of the inner workings of the Murdoch empire. There were more first-hand revelations in Neil’s piece about Mohamed Al-Fayed following the death of the Harrods boss aged 94. The two had a notorious falling out over Al-Fayed’s renovation of the Duke of Windsor’s former home in Paris, which led to the then editor of the Sunday Times banning him from advertising in the paper. And when it comes to the tragic death of Princess Diana in a car crash involving a limo procured by Al-Fayed’s son Dodi, Neil offers a jaw-dropping quote from his late friend, the photographer Terry O’Neill: ‘Never get in the back of a car with him [Dodi]. He does nothing but shout at the driver to go faster. It’s scary.’ With nearly 1.25 million Twitter/X followers, Neil’s pieces regularly attract hundreds of thousands of views online. A column devoted to the atrocities of Hamas in October 2023 attracted almost 500,000 hits. Information, as they say, is power. By sharing his insights into the big issues of the day, Andrew Neil’s column gives his readers agency and makes a valuable contribution to preserving the health of our democracy.