CommonSpace takes a look at which parties the Scottish and UK’s press has endorsed for the General Election
THE days of the press deciding elections is likely to be behind us, but media endorsements still matter. Crucially, it also gives us an insight into what the press will be up to after the election if there is a hung parliament. The narrative woven by the media after the election could make the difference to whether Ed Miliband or David Cameron is seen as a ‘legitimate’ government.
CommonSpace has done the hard yards for you, and found out which party all of the UK and Scottish newspapers are endorsing (if any) and why.
The Daily Record (and Sunday Mail)
For many years Scotland’s largest daily newspaper, now slipped behind the Scottish Sun, the Daily Record has always been staunchly pro-Labour, but perhaps this year less so. With Jim Murphy’s party heading for a trouncing at the hands of the SNP, the emphasis of the election day front cover is simply to get David Cameron out of Downing Street. The first line begins: “Whoever Scotland votes for today it won’t be the Tories…”
The editorial asks: “How best can we kick out this most shameful apology for a Prime Minister?” And concludes that a “cleansweep” for the SNP in Scotland would lead to the “unavoidable reality that the most likely outcome is the Tories will be returned to power”.
The editorial goes on to admit that many Record readers are “disillusioned” with Labour, but then outlines what it sees as the important differences between the party and the Tories, and the weaknesses of the SNP government at Holyrood. (Click here to read more).
Interestingly, its Sunday paper, the Sunday Mail, does not back any party, but its election editorial showers Nicola Sturgeon with praise, describing her as “an intelligent, capable, articulate woman who speaks with conviction about the kind of issues that matter to most Scots”. Jim Murphy’s “energy, ideas and determination” are credited with giving the party renewed vigour, but he’s accused of carrying a message of ‘vote SNP, get Tory’ which is a “throwback” to the pre-referendum era. (Click here to read more).
The Scottish Sun
Scotland’s leading daily paper is the Rupert Murdoch owned Scottish Sun, which has taken a markedly different tack from its sister paper in England by backing the SNP.
The Scottish Sun took an ambivalent attitude to the referendum, when many thought it would back a yes vote, but in this election it stuck its colours to Nicola Sturgeon’s mast, depicting the SNP leader as Princess Leia in Star Wars: “The force is with Nicola,” the editorial proclaimed on 29 April.
Stating Labour has “let us down badly”, the editorial argued that only the SNP are offering a “reshaped, re-energised UK”. (Click here to read more).
The National (and Sunday Herald)
Scotland’s newest newspaper and only pro-independence daily, the National, is unsurprisingly full square behind the SNP, offering readers who buy the paper at stands a free yellow crayon to colour in every constituency in Scotland yellow as the results roll in.
The Sunday Herald, which has the same editor as the National, Richard Walker, and backed Scottish independence before the referendum, also states its support for the party, leading with: “A vote for the SNP is a vote for hope”.
The National editorial proclaims that it will “never give up on independence”, but states that there is “no contradiction” between that movement and attempting “to achieve at least some of the aims which drove that desire for change” at Westminster. (Click here to read more).
The Herald, officially the Sunday Herald’s daily sister paper but in practise quite a distance away from it politically, states in the first line of its General Election editorial that “the Herald does not endorse political parties”, adding that it was not going to tell readers whether tactical voting was a good idea or not either.
Its key message is to create a “stable government” as quickly as possible after the election, arguing that “the markets” would not stand for “the fun of post-election haggling”.
“Campaigns are tawdry often enough; democracies are not. If the UK emerges by the week’s end with a stable government, responsible leaders and much to think about, we will have done well enough,” it concludes. (Click here to read more).
The Scotsman (and Scotland on Sunday)
Both The Scotsman and its sister paper the Scotland on Sunday, which have traditionally been considered to be small-c conservative, avoided party endorsements, instead focusing on encouraging voters not to vote tactically at the ballot box.
“Tactical voting has become the thrust of this election but with that are huge dangers. The fact is the voter can never be assured the outcome is the one desired,” the Scotsman editorial concludes. (Click here to read more).
The Guardian, considered to be the major UK paper of the liberal left, backed the Lib-Dems in 2010, but is supporting a vote for the Labour party this time, with votes for Greens and Lib-Dems in seats where they are the most likely to beat the Tories.
The editorial states that the austerity “experiment has clearly run its course”, arguing that Cameron has been “an increasingly weak prime minister” and the difference between Labour and the Tories “is sharp”.
“This newspaper has never been a cheerleader for the Labour party. We are not now. But our view is clear. Labour provides the best hope for starting to tackle the turbulent issues facing us,” it concludes.
The Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is notorious for being a leading paper of the right-wing in UK politics, and it comes as no surprise that they were proud backers of the Tories. However, there emphasis in this election has been on highlighting the “danger” of the SNP and keeping Ed Miliband out of Downing Street. Therefore they have provided a top 50 seats for tactical voting to keep Labour out of power, advocating votes for the Tories, Lib-Dems and Ukip to defeat Miliband’s party.
“For make no mistake,” the editorial states, “schooled by his Marxist father, Ed Miliband is an unashamed believer in trade union power, class warfare and the ability of the state to right all society’s wrongs.” (Click here to read more).
The Morning Star
The Morning Star, the paper of the Communist party of Britain and widely read in the trade union movement, has backed a vote for the Labour party, citing the “positive” reasons for voting Labour, but also stating that the alternative of another Tory-led government would “spell disaster”. (Click here to read more).
Known for being the second paper for liberals in the UK after the Guardian, many readers were surprised to see the Independent back another Lib Dem-Conservative coalition.
“This title casts no vote. But we prize strong, effective government, consider nationalism guilty until proven innocent, and say that if the present Coalition is to get another chance, we hope it is much less conservative, and much more liberal,” the editorial concludes. (Click here to read more).
The Daily Express
The billionaire owner of the Daily Express, Richard Desmond, has pushed the obsessively anti-immigration paper into support for Ukip, the only paper in the UK to endorse Nigel Farage’s party.
“If a vote for Labour is a vote for the SNP then a vote for Ukip tomorrow is a vote for the people’s voice to be heard. Old party loyalties must not stop us from voting with our heart. This country’s future needs you!” The editorial concludes. (Click here to read more).
The English Sun
The Sun in England endorsed the Tories to stop the “SNP threat”, directly contradicting its paper north of the border. The paper also advocated backing the Lib Dems in 14 Labour-Lib Dem marginal seats.
The paper switched back to the Tories from Labour in 2010, and were never going to do anything other than continue backing Cameron’s party after falling out with Miliband over the phone hacking scandal.
“The Tories alone can prevent a nightmarish Labour government, propped up by the saboteurs of the SNP,” the editorial reads.
The Daily Mirror
The Daily Mirror is a loyal Labour paper, and along with the Guardian and the Morning Star it is only one of three UK-wide papers to endorse Miliband for prime minister.
The paper backs tactical voting for Lib Dems in marginals to “send the Tories packing”.
“Labour is still the only party capable of delivering social justice. The only one which can create the kind of fair society the majority of us want our children to grow up in,” the editorial argues. (Click here to read more).
The old right-wing stalwart the Telegraph is predictably backing the Tories, but has also been fervent that voters should do what they can to beat the SNP in Scotland, such is the paper’s fear and trepidation of a Labour-SNP deal.
“Make no mistake, a coalition of the most Left-wing parties seen for decades is gathering its forces to drag Britain back to a world most of us thought had been despatched to the annals of history,” its editorial states.
The Times, a Murdoch owned paper that is influential among the UK elite, has backed a Tory-Lib Dem coalition, stating that “tactical voting is sometimes the right thing to do”.
“Stability, courtesy of a new coalition, is the best hope for the country. This paper urges citizens to vote for it, tactically where necessary,” the editorial concludes.
The Financial Times
The paper of the UK’s financial class, the Financial Times will has more than one eye on what impact the election could have on the UK stock market. Unsurprisingly, it backed a Tory-led coalition, but also said that where Lib Dems hold seats or are the strongest challengers, voters should support Nick Clegg’s party.
Picture courtesy of Jon S