Wednesday, 30 September 2009

As The Sun Set's On New Labour...

David Dismore has had one of the most interesting and challenging jobs in Scotland. When he took over as editor of the Scottish edition of “The S*n”, its circulation figures were trailing badly behind the “Daily Record”. Slowly but surely he has hauled the S*n up, and 2 years ago they overtook the Retard as Scotland’s most read newspaper. It is a position they hold to this day.

The carve-up by former “Bizzare” editors Coulson (now the Tories spin-meister) and Mohan (now the newspaper’s editor) has rather put Dismore into a tight spot, namely who should the Scottish S*n support during the Westminster elections. His decision to back away from supporting New Labour, but not to support Cameron’s Conservatives immediately, buy’s him some time. However his next move will be fraught with danger and needs to be thought out carefully.

A decision to follow the rest of the country, while it wouldn’t be commercial suicide, we would possibly see those built up circulation figures start to drop back. Lets not forget that to the majority of Scottish people, the values of the modern Conservative party are still completely alien to the shared Scottish experience, while there are still areas which are downright hostile to the Conservatives’. Any sniff of siding with the Conservatives would be toxic to sales figures in these areas.

The other alternative open to Dismore would be to follow the lead set by the paper in 1992, and to back the SNP. For the Tories, this had the desired effect of splitting the anti Tory vote and allowing them to hold on to 11 seats in the Elections of that year. The newspaper’s circulation still trailed the “Record”, but it became something of a laughing stock in its brazen attempts to split the social democratic vote. Some of the SNP’s policies did not sit easily with the S*n’s values either. This is even more of a problem now with the possibility of an Independence referendum.

A S*n/SNP link up would be uncomfortable for both parties. The SNP would be getting support from a newspaper whose values can be most diplomatically described as unreconstructed. The SNP kind of have form here, they pocketed £500,000 from Brian Souter, figurehead of the ill-thought-out Keep The Clause campaign, and seem to have weathered this storm. For the S*n, there would be a severe loss of credibility (I know, I know a paper who believes that stories about Jordan and the WAG’s are somehow news having credibility) as the paper who attempted a “1992” by putting Scotland in a noose if the SNP won. It is also pro-union and is against the proposed referendum.

The decision made in Wapping has put the tartan version of the S*n in a tight spot. New Labour has let people down badly, and it is right to say so. However there is still about 30% of Scotland who heavily support the old party, that’s a lot of people to annoy. So what is it Mr Dismore, your credibility or your sales figures? Either way I’m sure there will be the sound of laughter coming from Pacific Quay.

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