Many media and political commentators are trying to figure out the thinking behind The Sun’s decision today to back two horses in the General Election race. In England The Sun is telling readers to vote Tory, while the Scottish edition of the paper is backing the SNP.
On the face of it this seems a bit of a contradiction. Especially when you consider that the front page of the English paper gives three reasons for voting Conservative, one of which is that it will prevent the SNP from having a say in who governs the UK!
Of course, the Labour Party is viewing this as a well orchestrated conspiracy to maximise the anti Labour vote. While there may be something in that, especially when you consider that Rupert Murdoch has fallen out big time with Tony Blair, I think that the reasoning is more likely to be commercial rather than political. The Sun’s main tabloid rival in Scotland is the Daily Record, which continues to offer unquestioning support to the Labour Party. Given that the opinion polls are all pointing to an SNP walkover on 7 May, the Sun clearly sees a way to boost circulation north of the border by providing an SNP supporting tabloid.
Does any of this actually make any difference? As I have said in previous posts, the days when Murdoch could claim that It was The Sun wot won it are long gone. Now voters, particularly those under 35, are far more likely to be influenced by social media. All of which makes Ed Miliband’s online interview with Russell Brand this week particularly interesting.
But back to the Sun. The English edition has a front page which shows David Cameron’s face on a baby with a headline saying “It’s a Tory”; an obvious reference to the imminent royal birth. But if the royal baby is a girl, I wonder if they will call her Nicola?