Alex Salmond’s cosy relationship with Rupert Murdoch and the Tories

At the 1992 election, Scotland was one place where the Tory-loving Sun didn’t publish its “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain…” front page.

The paper’s infamous attack on Labour would have been wasted on Scottish voters. Instead, Rupert Murdoch’s favourite tabloid switched support from the increasingly toxic Tories to the SNP. The objective, though, was still the same – to stop a Labour government at Westminster.

Fast forward nearly two decades, and we see that history may be repeating itself. The Daily Record political editor, Magnus Gardham, reveals in his blog that News International is hosting a “business breakfast” with first minister, Alex Salmond. It’s an offer that certainly isn’t open to other party leaders during the campaign.

In recent weeks, Murdoch’s Sun has splashed on celebrity endorsers for the SNP and attacked Labour at every opportunity. So it’s odds-on they’ll support the SNP – or at the very least Salmond – by polling day.

Magnus also highlights how this SNP Scottish government has not challenged the Tory-led coalition with the same vigour as they did the previous Labour UK government.

For example, there was no fight-back from Salmond over a recent clampdown on finances by Danny Alexander. According to Magnus, the treasury bean-counter informed SNP finance secretary, John Swinney, that the Scottish government could no longer hold on to unspent cash at the end of the financial year.

Magnus notes that “in days gone by, Salmond would have trampled folk underfoot in his haste to reach the Holyrood chamber for an angry emergency statement”. But not under a Tory government, it seems.

Obviously, there are huge questions about how our print media does actually influence voters these days. As Alastair Campbell reminds us in his blog, the Tories ended up with just one seat north of the border at last year’s general election, despite the Sun supporting them devotedly in Scotland.

The real problem for both the Sun and the SNP is one of credibility. The gymnastics performed by the Sun are of Olympic proportions. Only four year ago, the paper ran an election day splash with the headline “Vote SNP today and you put Scotland’s head in the noose”.

This time round, the Nationalists could find the Sun’s support extremely counterproductive, given that the paper is also supporting the Tories in its other UK editions.

The Scots are too canny to be taken in and will see through Murdoch’s motives. Endorsement from News International for Alex Salmond, the SNP or for both isn’t about what’s best for Scotland. It’s all to do with what’s best for the Tories at Westminster. And the last thing David Cameron wants is Labour first minister in Holyrood fighting for the things that really matter.

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12 Responses to “Alex Salmond’s cosy relationship with Rupert Murdoch and the Tories”

  1. JPJ2 says:

    Pathetic rubbish about the Sun.

    Everyone can remember the way that Blair practically kiseed Murdoch’s posterior in order to get the support of the Sun for Labour.

    As for the Scottish Sun’s likely support for Salmond-no wonder that scares you!.

    I can see the headline now-something about how wrong they were in 2007 and what a great job Alex has done.

    With the Scottish Sun now outselling the Daily Record in Scotland-you are stuffed!!!

  2. Angus says:

    The Sun follows that party which seems most likely to win, they always wait till late on when it’s clear the opinion polls are showing who is well in the lead. Just look back at 92 and 97 Labour were well ahead when they backed us, similarly the Tories were well ahead in the polls when they backed them in 2010. At the moment, it seems as the SNP will win by a 5 seats.

    Perhaps, instead of wasting our time attacking Murdoch – we should look at why we haven’t been able to win his support, by becoming the leader in the polls?

  3. Dubbieside says:

    I am just loving watching your pain. Remember when Bliar was first elected leader of Labour the first thing he did was fly half way round the world to talk at a News International conference.

    Thats how desperate him and Campbell were to get The Suns endorsement, changed days guys.


    With Labour, Blair went crawling.

    With the SNP Murdoch came calling.

    Murdoch and the Sun only back winners.

  4. Dubbieside says:

    “This time round, the Nationalists could find the Sun’s support extremely counterproductive, given that the paper is also supporting the Tories in its other UK editions.”

    Support from the best selling newspaper in Scotland “counter-productive” did Magnus write that with a straight face?

    Time to rejoin the real world guys.

  5. cynicalHighlander says:

    The Labour group voted more with the Tories over the last 4 yrs in Holyrood but don’t let that skew your ‘facts’.

  6. Dougthedug says:

    “the Tory-loving Sun”

    Come on, Labour threw their toys out of the pram at their 2009 conference when the Sun switched back to the Tories after 12 years of supporting Labour, ripping copies of the Sun up on the podium. Nothing like a lover spurned eh?

    “And the last thing David Cameron wants is a Labour first minister in Holyrood fighting for the things that really matter.”

    Cameron would actually prefer Labour to win because if Labour are in power what’s the Labour strategy if Cameron just tells them to take a hike and cuts Scotland’s public finances to the bone? The Labour party are probably more hard line unionist than the Conservatives and they have no independence option to use as a threat. David Cameron knows full well that the Labour party mantra in Scotland is, “Better Tory than independent”.

    If the SNP are in power in Scotland it means the nationalist threat is still present so Cameron can’t just treat Scotland with contempt because the SNP will use it as ammunition to continue to press the case for independence.

    Cameron wants a Labour win. With Salmond he will get an actual party Leader who will fight for Scotland but with Iain Gray not only will he get a regional party functionary in a powerless regional parliament the regional party functionary will want the regional parliament to stay powerless.

  7. Arbeit Macht Frei says:

    Well said all…..

  8. alexander says:

    On the point about Cameron being afraid of the nationalist option, I think that fails completely as a reason for the SNP being in a stronger position. 1. They’d need to go through the long process of a referendum, one in which they’ve no guarantees of winning a yes on separation, and unilateral independence would make us a laughing stock. 2. It’s Labour not Cameron who needs Scotland for winning elections, the Tories could win an election with just 1 or 2 Welsh and Scottish seats, whereas Labour couldn’t. So the idea that independence scares the Tories is a nonsense. 3. The SNP got the majority of their policies through on Tory votes, policing, bridge tolls, council tax freezes; every finance bill as had a large blue streak running through it, reawakening the old Willie Ross line of Tartan Tories. In fact in the parliament of 74 to 79 the SNP voted with Tories pure than labour, and launched the no confidence vote that gave us a thatcher government for 18 years (thatcherite policy based).

    I reckon the last thing Cameron and three Coalition want is 4 years of Labour lead governments in Scotland and Wales. With an alternative Labour government protecting public services and reversing part privatisation of their NHS and preserving the public sector through reform and efficiencies, the coalition’s cut and run policies will look vulgar, vile and ill thought out, as the English voters will see what Labour could offer. The best outcome in Scotland to destabilize three coalition would be a Lab-Lib coalition here, but that is highly unlikely given the LibDem implosion. But Labour led government here and in Wales is much more of a thorn to Cameron and his coalition than a SNP administration whose main aim is to take the area of the UK where Tories stand little chance of winning a seat out of the UK.

  9. Seymour says:

    the last thing David Cameron wants is Labour first minister in Holyrood fighting for the things that really matter

    Things that really matter to a labour msp?

    What would those things be?
    1) 1st class tickets everywhere
    2) lots of nice committees to give money to his mates from (labour aren’t only corrupt in the west)
    3) nice expenses and a few quango directorships

  10. Dougthedug says:

    alexander: April 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    The SNP don’t need a referendum to make the Tories afraid, just the threat of one. Are you saying that the Tories are happy to lose Scotland? The fact that Scotland has only one Tory MP means that Cameron has less to lose. He can be as nasty as he likes with only one seat at stake.

    Your list of nasty SNP policies has unfortunately been supported wholesale by the Labour party in Scotland apart from the budget bills of course where they seem to have a talent of voting against the very things they ask for. As John Swinney said in the Scottish parliament on 09/02/2011, the day the Scottish Budget was passed despite Labour voting against it, “Every single thing that I was asked to deliver by the Labour Party I offered to the Labour Party.”

    Police: From the Labour Scottish Section Manifesto for 2011 they say, “We understand that people want to see more police on the streets and are anxious to know if frontline services will be protected in uncertain times.”

    Bridge Tolls: The Labour party voted along with the Tories and the SNP to abolish bridge tolls on 20/12/2007. Only the Greens voted against.

    Council Tax Freeze: From the Labour Scottish Section Manifesto for 2011 they’re going to, “Freeze council tax for the next two years”.

    Scottish Budget 2011. The Labour party voted against:
    1. 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships in 2011-12, the highest ever number in Scotland
    2. A further £10 million in support for employment creation, focused on new starts and encouraging smaller companies to expand their business base
    3. An increase in Scottish Enterprise funding for the Urban Regeneration Companies to £12.5 million in 2011-12
    4. A further £16 million into housing programmes by expanding the shared equity scheme and the introduction of an infrastructure loans fund
    5. An additional £15 million across 2010-11 and 2011-12 in funding for college bursaries;
    6. £8 million for an additional 1,200 college places in 2011-12, covering both teaching and student support costs
    7. The provision of an extra 2,000 flexible training opportunities in 2011-12, taking the total to 7,000

    Voting Record:
    In the current session of the Scottish Parliament Labour voted with the Tories more times than the SNP did.

    The SNP didn’t give Scotland 18 years of Tory government the English electorate did and now the Labour party is fighting to keep David Cameron who was elected on the Tory vote in England as the Scottish PM.

    The only half-hearted attempts at privatisation of the NHS in Scotland were done under the previous Labour Health Minister Andy Kerr and the SNP has firmly resisted any pressure to privatise the NHS since they came to power in 2007. Are you confusing the English NHS with the Scottish NHS by any chance?

    Four years of Labour Government in Scotland would make Cameron laugh. Remember the eighties and Scotland’s 50 Labour MP’s? The, “Feeble Fifty”? They were as much use in defending Scotland against Thatcher as a chocolate fireguard. Iain Gray and a Labour Scottish Government won’t even register on David Cameron’s radar.

  11. what a bag of shite!

    a bit like the apprentice – if you can’t explain away your own short commings waffle pish and hope for the best.

    in the words of the youth of today, epic fail.

  12. Bill Chapman says:

    Alex Salmond really needs to consider his position. It’s time for him to go.

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