Less than a week before polling day, ‘The Sun’ – Britain’s largest selling tabloid – on Thursday spoke out in two voices: its London-based edition asked readers to vote for the Conservative party, but its Scottish edition plumped for the Scottish National Party.
'The Sun’s political views have been influential in successive general elections: it has alternately supported Labour or Conservative, depending on the views of its owner, Rupert Murdoch. The tabloid's support came when the Conservatives appeared to edge ahead of Labour in opinion polls.
The London-based edition urged readers to back the Conservatives and "stop the SNP running the country", but the Scottish edition said the Conservatives did not understand Scotland and praised SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as a "phenomenon who inspires people".
The tabloid’s controversial position in Britain’s discourse of political communication is most known for its gloating headline, ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’, after the Conservative party led by John Major won the 1992 election.
The newspaper had led a campaign against the Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, which included another well-known headline on election day: "If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights."
‘The Sun’s London edition described the SNP as "wreckers", and warned of Labour-SNP "nightmare". ‘Mirror’, another mass circulation tabloid, has openly supported the Labour party.
Defending its support for SNP, Andrew Nicoll, political editor of the Scottish Sun, said the newspapers' split reflected "two distinct editorial positions from two distinct, editorially-diverse newspapers".
He said: "We are a Scottish newspaper, run in Scotland, printed in Scotland, produced in Scotland by Scots, and it's not a surprise to anybody - least of all Rupert Murdoch - that these two papers have a diversion of view tonight."
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