Well, after several years of hobnobbing with New Labour, The Sun has finally switched its political allegiance once again, it seems:
It claims to have supported Labour since 1997, when it backed Tony Blair’s successful bid for power against John Major’s Conservative government. But, their front-page editorial says, “the real story of the Labour years is one of under-achievement, rank failure and a vast expansion of wasteful government interference in everyone’s lives.”
On Sky News (another part of the Murdoch empire, of course), its political editor George Pascoe-Watson said that the paper would be a critical friend to the Conservatives as it had been to Labour, pointing out that it had supported Labour for 12 years – longer than any Tory administration.
That’s true – but only technically. The Sun supported the Thatcher government from the outset, a total of 11½ years; and famously trumpeted about John Major’s surprise victory over Neil Kinnock in the 1992 election, “It’s The Sun wot won it for the Tories”. It wasn’t until the Major government was on its last legs in 1997, and a Labour landslide was a virtual certainty – 18 years after Thatcher came to power – that The Sun switched sides.
So… Principled stance on the basis of what the editorial staff believe is best for the country? Or cynical shift based on what they think reflects what the majority is already thinking and wants to be confirmed in – and thus what is likely to shift more papers?
To quote that editorial once more: “no lie judged too great in its ruthless and relentless self-promotion”.
Pot and kettle, anyone?