by Rona Mackay
Two of Scotland’s leading newspapers have pledged their support to the SNP and Alex Salmond as First Minister.
The Scottish Sun, Scotland’s biggest-selling daily paper having recently overtaken its Labour-supporting rival the Daily Record, and the Scottish Sunday Express are urging their readers to give the SNP a second term in Government.
The intense rivalry between the Record and the Sun may be one reason why the Record has been playing its cards close to its chest during the campaign so far, as the polls show the SNP on course to win the election in May.
Scottish Sunday Express editor Derek Lambie says in a leader entitled: ‘Why Alex merits a second chance’: “I believe Alex Salmond should be given the chance to continue in office. I’m certain a large proportion of Sunday Express readers also believe the SNP deserves a second term.
“Can there be that many who, hand on hearts, believe Mr Salmond has performed so badly since 2007 that his team should be catapulted from power? I doubt it. Since taking office, the Nationalists have frozen council tax, making every single household in Scotland better off.
“They have also put more police on the streets and abolished road tolls. Closure-threatened accident and emergency wards have been saved, NHS prescriptions are now free to all, and the number of apprentices across the country has increased. Business rates have been slashed or scrapped altogether for more than 80,000 businesses, and crime has fallen to a 32-year low, with the money seized from illegal activities pumped back into our communities.
“If re-elected, the Nats have vowed to safeguard every single public sector job – including those of hard-working teachers, nurses and police officers – against any compulsory redundancy.
“There is no doubt the SNP has surprised many with the ease in which it has migrated into government. In the run-up to the 2007 election, doomsayers all but predicted the end to life itself were it left to Alex Salmond to run the country. How wrong they were. It defies logic that he could be replaced by the inexperienced Iain Gray, a former teacher who few see as a party leader, never mind the next First Minister of Scotland.”
The Scottish Sun has come a long way from its 2007 splash headline “Vote SNP and put Scotland’s head in the noose” gimmick. Editor Andy Harries said: “Alex Salmond said in 2007 ‘judge us by our record’ and we’ve done just that. We believe Alex is a great ambassador for Scotland. I am proud to offer the support of the Scottish Sun to put them back in power.”
Welcoming today’s announcement, Alex Salmond said: “It’s fantastic news – Scotland’s biggest daily paper is backing the re-election of Scotland’s Government.
“The Scottish Sun and the Scottish Sunday Express’s welcome support for the SNP reflects the hopes and aspirations of the people for a successful Scotland.”