The Sun newspaper revealed its backing for the Conservative Party on Wednesday, telling English readers to vote Tory to stop the “SNP running the country.” At the same time the newspaper’s Scottish edition backed the nationalists, fluffing Nicola Sturgeon and telling readers not to fall for the “Tory lie.”
The two-faced ploy, which was immediately rounded upon for its cynical hypocrisy, was waved away by a News Corp spokesman who dismissed the duplicity by noting the editions’ “very distinct audiences.” Murdoch has been critical of Labour in recent weeks, while demanding his journalists do more to stop Miliband entering Number 10. He has also appeared sympathetic to nationalist demands for greater independence.
The Tories have yet to comment on The Sun’s backing, which could be help or hinder their campaign, such is the questionable public regard for News Corp’s ageing proprietor and his publications.
The English edition barked: "It's a Tory," explaining that Cameron’s party will keep the economy on track, stop the SNP and guarantee an EU referendum. A vote for Nigel Farage's Ukip was dismissed as bringing the “Labour/SNP nightmare closer."
In England and Wales, the Sun says the SNP are the devil incarnate. In Scotland, they urge a vote for them. https://t.co/EDftFY8ZLW— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) April 29, 2015
I guess we have a new gold standard for rank hypocrisy now pic.twitter.com/YzQgMS9iSb— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) April 29, 2015
The Sun's spin on the truth depends entirely on who it is selling papers to pic.twitter.com/FzbUE6qda6 The hypocrisy is awe inspiring— Christine Burns (@christineburns) April 29, 2015
Well look - the Scottish version of the Sun is urging all its readers to vote SNP. Despicable hypocrisy https://t.co/iuTjpicXex— Sally Gimson (@SallyGimson) April 29, 2015
Those Sun front pages are the perfect example of why social media is so important. People can see the hypocrisy immediately.— Stephen Carroll (@Stephen_C80) April 29, 2015
The Scottish edition featured a Star Wars pun alongside a picture of the First Minister in the guise of Princess Leia.
Its editorial yelped: “If the Conservative Party ever understood Scotland, they don’t any more,” adding: “David Cameron and his Chipping Norton set look north with a mix of confusion and fear. Don’t buy this desperate ‘vote SNP, get Tory’ lie. If we send 50 anti-Tory MPs to London, why does it matter if only a handful are Labour this time?”
As Obi-Wan Kenobi would have doubtless said:
Below are scenes from a Star Wars dance-off: