The Sun Says: Vote SNP, get Tories.
Murdoch in truth has long flirted with the SNP and especially Alex Salmond. Salmond for instance went as far as to lobby the UK government over News Corp's attempt to swallow Sky whole, as the Leveson inquiry heard. As this week's Private Eye also noted, prior to the Sun's endorsement hitting the streets, the SNP's manifesto had nothing to say about levels of media ownership, while the party's support for a splitting up of the BBC into its constituent regional parts is exactly the kind of thing Keith yearns for. The Indie's report that while in town Rupe demanded more attacks on Labour for daring to suggest they might now do something about his stranglehold on the media meanwhile tells its own story. Murdoch and the Sun are not so much coming out for Cameron, utterly bizarre and really creepy IT'S A TORY front page or not, as trying their darnedest to keep Labour out.
Supporting the SNP in Scotland therefore makes perfect, cynical but not contradictory sense. The English edition can rage and moan about Nicola Sturgeon giving her sister's doll a savage haircut, proof if any were needed of her ruthlessness and dedication to shafting everyone south of the border, while the Scottish one can declare the same person A NEW HOPE, despite this new hope having been in power for just the past 7 years at Holyrood. So long as it works against Ed Miliband, seen as the real threat to business as usual for Murdoch, what does a little thing like consistency matter?
That Sturgeon has backed herself into a corner over locking out the Tories does seem to have finally dawned on a few of the less boneheaded SNPers. Ed Miliband's remarks last night on Question Time were nothing more than a repeat of what, err, both Sturgeon and Salmond have been saying about doing a deal with Labour. A coalition isn't on offer, nor is confidence and supply, leaving only a vote-by-vote basis relationship. If Sturgeon means what she says, then she has little option other than to support a Labour Queen's speech and budget regardless of how little there is in either designed to mollify the nationalists. All the talk about Scotland never forgiving Labour if they let in the Tories by refusing a deal is equal parts guff and bluff: the onus is on the SNP to support Labour, not the other way around.
Besides, at this point Labour has absolutely nothing to lose in Scotland precisely because, err, the polling suggests it's going to lose everything. It can't get any worse; Labour could spend the next week saying everyone intending to vote SNP is a traitor and still not end up doing worse than many now expect. More likely is the party will manage to hang on to between 5 and 10 seats, still an utter disaster, but considering the total landslide the polls imply will be regarded as akin to a miracle. In such circumstances, putting the prospect of another referendum centre stage is just about all Labour can do.
In his interview with Russell Brand, Ed agreed this time people didn't want euphoria but rather a party that means what it says. Voters in Scotland might one day think back on that, just as many of those who voted Lib Dem last time ended up doing.