Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! Magazine, believes he has been snubbed by David Cameron whom he describes as "rude".
In a four-letter-word littered interview over lunch with the Financial Times, the 63-year-old media mogul claims Cameron once trod on his foot at a party while rushing to press the flesh with Rupert Murdoch. "Rude. He's very lightweight. But he'd be very good running this restaurant, wouldn't he?" The restaurant in question is the Coq D'Argent, which has a view of the Bank of England and where they serve a bottle of Château Palmer 1983 for £580 ($900).
Desmond says their poor relationship was down to an encounter when Cameron was a PR man whose boss wanted to turn OK! Magazine – think Hello! - into a TV show. He blames the class divide, too. "The non-posh people like me are jealous of the posh people because they have the confidence," he said.
For Desmond is, as his autobiography The Real Deal states, a miserable Jewish kid from north London who became a billionaire, and has been a thorn in the side of the British establishment ever since.
He told the interviewer: "Everyone's having a go at you, so you've got to be the fighter. This weekend the Hasidic rabbi will come round with a cheesecake because it's Shavuot [Tabernacles] or one of the festivals. It's nice."
Desmond believes he's the Real Deal
In the book Desmond describes how he started selling advertising at the age of five, for his father Cyril, who had suddenly gone deaf.
He got his entrepreneurial spirit at the age of 13 while working in the cloakroom of the Manor House pub. There, he quickly realised that if he put two coats on a single hanger he could pocket an extra sixpence. He set up his first magazines — International Musician and Recording World, and Home Organist – in his early 20s, and in 1983, he snapped up the licence to publish Penthouse in the UK.
He still has financial interests in some of the Britain's adult film pay-TV channels.
The FT says that "Desmond's trick — be it with celebrity magazines, newspapers or telephone sex lines — has been to copy the market leader and to compete with it ruthlessly. In 1993, seeing the leading celebrity magazine Hello! was full of obscure European royalty — 'Prince Schnorbitz of Bratislavia' is how he describes it at lunch — Desmond launched OK!, a rival which focused on British soap stars."
As he says: "There's always some c**t trying to stop me."
He seems less that sad over the death of Hello!'s owner, Eduardo Sánchez Junco, in 2010, with whom Desmond fought a lengthy court battle over photographs of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones's wedding. "I take full responsibility for that," he told the FT.
Desmond dislikes – intensely – the Google executives who came to him with an idea of putting OK! online.
"By the time you have the fourth meeting, the whole deal's completely f**king changed. They are the biggest gangsters in the world and they get away with it. One thing I've got to say about the European Union is that they are giving them a good kicking.
"I was always slow to adopt the internet, because I knew what would happen. It's interesting how vinyl's coming back, isn't it?"