It wasn't too bad even for the first few years under Desmond. The change came when he was refused permission to buy the Telegraph, and he turned on Tony Blair with a vengeance. That was when the rumours started flying that he was stripping the paper of staff, freezing salaries, and starting his dual obsessions of Euro-hatred and Islamophobia.
Is there room for a mid-market left-leaning tabloid? Well, the I certainly occupies that ground. But seeing that the Express has in recent years got rid of so many readers that it now caters seemingly only for the bewildered and bigoted, a change in stance could see them desert in droves and kill the paper stone dead.
As for the Star, it's always been tits, football and weird world stuff. In recent years though it's concentrated on slebs and reality TV too. Easy to report - just transcribe what you see on TV and make up the rest.
PS somewhere I saw the Express and Star described respectively as "The Mail off its meds" and "The Sun on crack".
"There ain't nothing you fear more than a bad headline, is there? You'd rather live in shit than let the world see you work a shovel."