Selim Jehan Shah (born 20 January 1944), commonly known as Eddy Shah or Eddie Shah, is a Manchester-based businessman, the founder of the then technologically advanced UK newspaper Today in 1986, and of the short-lived tabloid The Post. He is also the former owner of the Messenger Group.
Eddy Shah was born in Cambridge. His mother was English and his father was Iranian. Shah was educated at the Scottish co-educational independent boarding school of Gordonstoun, and at both Haywards Heath Grammar School and Haywards Heath Secondary Modern School, at Haywards Heath in Sussex. He then attended a Brighton crammer, where he obtained seven GCE 'O' Levels.
Shah held various jobs, amongst which was floor manager for Granada's television studio. After he was fired from the Manchester Evening News, he decided to launch into newspaper publishing on his own and started with the proceeds of £14,000 from the sale of his first home, in Sale, which he had bought for £4,000.
As the owner of six local newspapers, Shah employed anti-trade union laws introduced by the Margaret Thatcher governments to defeat the print unions after national strikes that went on for seven months – despite receiving death threats. He was the first person to invoke Thatcher's trade union laws de-recognise unions. The Wapping dispute followed three years later.
Shah first confronted the trade unions at his Warrington print works and the Manchester news offices in 1983. As the owner of the Warrington Messenger, he sacked six workers in a declared anti-union move. In response, the National Graphical Association (NGA) began mass picketing of the Messenger's offices.
On 30 November, over four thousand trade unionists attended a mass picket. The police brought in riot-trained Police Support Units from five surrounding areas and the confrontation became physical. The NGA speaker van was attacked and overturned by police, while squads with full riot gear repeatedly charged the pickets. The National Graphical Association immediately suspended mass picketing. For the first time in post-war Britain, para-military policing more akin to that used in Northern Ireland had been used to attack strikers in an industrial dispute.
In 1986 he launched the Today, British newspaper.
Shah sold his newspapers in 1988 and set up an independent TV company.
Current business activities
Shah now owns and runs golf courses, leisure centres and hotels, including the Wiltshire Golf and Country Club, Royal Wootton Bassett. He has recently built 44 holiday homes at his Wiltshire Golf club.
Shah is the author of several novels including The Lucy Ghosts (1991), Ring of Red Roses (1992), Manchester Blue (1993), and Fallen Angels (1994). After a break from writing, he returned in 2008 with a thriller entitled Second World.
Views on underage sex
In October 2012, he was charged with child sex offences allegedly committed in the 1990s. In December 2012, he denied six counts of rape involving a girl under 16. The trial started at the Old Bailey on Tuesday 7 May 2013. On 12 July he was found not guilty.
In August 2013, he said that girls who throw themselves at celebrities or who "go out and just have a good time" could themselves be to blame. In such cases, charges involving girls under the age of consent could just be a technicality. His comments drew strong criticism from the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, who said that rape was always a crime and the law was configured on the assumption that adults would want to protect children. Shah's comments came directly after a prosecuting barrister was suspended following "inappropriate comments" concerning the rape of a 13-year-old.
Shah is married to actress Jennifer White Shah, whom he first met while he was working for Granada Television. The company was producing The Caesars (1968) and Jennifer White was an actress playing Caligula's sister in the series. They have three children, and live in Chippenham.
- "What happened next?". The Guardian. 13 October 2002.
- "Former Today boss Eddy Shah cleared of schoolgirl rape". BBC News London. 12 July 2013.
- "We've survived death threats and serious illness and just missed". The Mail on Sunday. 20 September 2006. reprinted by TMCnet
- Bunyan, J, "From Saltley to Orgreave via Brixton", Journal of Law and Society, Vol 12, No. 3, The State v. the People: Lessons from the Coal Dispute (Winter, 1985), pp. 293–303
- "Former Today boss Eddy Shah pleads 'not guilty' to child rape". BBC News. 7 December 2012.
- "Former news tycoon Eddie Shah charged with rape". The Daily Telegraph. 4 October 2012.
- "Abused girls can be to blame, suggests Eddy Shah". BBC News UK. 11 August 2013.
- Rob Williams (11 August 2013). "Eddy Shah clarifies view on underage sex". The Independent.
- "Jennifer White Shah". IMDb.