Will the Sun win the election for the Conservatives?

September 30, 2009

murdoch_newThe Sun trumpeted “It’s the Sun Wot Won It” after the Conservatives won the 1992 general election following the newspaper’s polling day headline “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights”.

Five years later, Britain’s top-selling daily newspaper switched sides and backed Tony Blair and Labour at the next general election, remaining loyal to the centre-left party at the 2001 and 2005 elections.

But the tabloid has now flipped its allegiances and plans to support the Tories and David Cameron proclaiming on its front page on Wednesday that “Labour’s Lost it”.

“The Sun believes — and prays — that the Conservative leadership can put the great back into Great Britain,” wrote the paper, dedicating five pages to explain its decision, even moving its traditional page-three topless girl back to page seven.

With Brown even lagging the Liberal Democrats in the latest opinion polls, the Sun’s thumbs-down was another kick in the teeth for the beleaguered Prime Minister, just a day after he delivered a keynote speech to the Labour Party conference.

In a round of interviews on Wednesday, Brown put a brave face on the Sun’s thumbs-down, insisting: “The British people will decide the election, not a newspaper”.

The Sun is read by nearly three million people, but in an age where people increasingly get their news from rolling television news programmes and the Internet, is the tabloid’s decision a fatal blow for Gordon Brown’s political chances in next year’s general election?


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I couldn’t resist the waggish though that perhaps Mr Murdoch had been hoping for a manifesto pledge in the speech to dismantle the BBC. But, much as we all like conspiracy theories, haven’t the Sun’s decisions about whom to back always been more like backing a racehorse than backing a protege?

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

this will not be a deciding factor in the next election and it is presumptuous of the Sun to think this will. voters have alwats decided the result and it will be no different next time. as the owner and former editors are “in bed” with the Tories it was only a matter of time. interesting to see the Scottish Sun has not joined the “English” partner; seeing problems with circulation north of the border or are the Scots a little more worldly wise than their English cousins?

Posted by Phil Edwards | Report as abusive

This man Murdock has ruled my life since I was 21 I am now 59 I think its about time his empire was crushed, hail the revolution.

Posted by Philip Murray | Report as abusive

The Sun readers may well rely on the paper to decide for them. After all, how many readers of the “Beano” do you know who have any knowledge or memory of political debate?
Sad really

Posted by brian Roberts | Report as abusive

It will be the vote of the people that decides the next election. However, the influence of the Sun’s decision is not to be underestimated. It appears to be fashionable to bash/undermine Gordon Brown and the government in the same way that it became fashionable to ridicule John Major running up to the 1997 election. It is a very big uphill struggle for Labour now, I think that they are relying on some bloopers from opposition parties to get re-elected.

Posted by Mike Hydon | Report as abusive

Tiresome, but some fools will fall for it and imcrease the sun’s sales. The election gives a choice and papers should keep out of any bandwagon and be more neutral. They of all should be balanced and explain facts fairly to all so choices can be made by the individual, not swayed by the paper’s owners politics. The choice is who pays to fix the finances which were NO parties fault. Vote conservative and the “common man” will pay by hundreds of thousands of public sector workers losing their job. vote labour, it will be middle to higher earners who will pay higher taxes. It will be no more complicated a choice than that in reality as all our parties strive to hold the center ground anyway.

Posted by Russell | Report as abusive

I have more faith in people in general than to believe that The Sun’s calculated but cheap bid for publicity by backing the Tories will have much effect. People have long memories and Thatcher’s damage to this country still resonates with many folks. Cameron may be a public-school *smoothie* who impresses people simply by the way he speaks, rather than by what he actually says, but I still think The Labour Party, especially led by David Milliband, would have walked this coming election. As it is, under the dour presence of Brown it’ll be a close call.

Posted by Frank Cox | Report as abusive

Rupert Murdoch is manipulator, who always backs the potential winner. They do not look at policies or the public interests.
The government needs to restrain him soon, or his empire will become something unstoppable. He is not good for our country or the rest of the world. Just STOP READING THE SUN.

Posted by Siddiq | Report as abusive

By coming come out in favour of the tories, a bunch of priveledged toffs who know nothing of the daily struggle of ordinary people, the Sun and Murdoch are showing their true colours, they supported labour over the last few elections for expedient reason knowing that the political winds had changed direction…..if people really are persuaded by the trivialising and patronising dribble that gets printed in the Sun it truly is a sad day for our democracy

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

it is worth noteing that the Sun is read by 9 million readers a day and not 3 million as was stated in the article. And yes even in the age of massive media fragmentation the Sun will have a real influence on the british voter. It now has several months to turn its big guns on Brown and the labour cabinet, gradually eroding any credibility it may have left leading up to the general election which i guess will take place in early may 2010.

Posted by martin vernon | Report as abusive

And we complin about Iran, Afghanistan etc. Is this not the same? A powerful figure/paper controlling millions of votes en-bloc. So much for one person, one vote. This is effectively buying millions of them.

Posted by Russell | Report as abusive

The Sun speaks the truth.
No more Labour lies.


Posted by Roger Potter | Report as abusive

As a professional AND a Sun reader…

The Sun is building itslef a reputation. Someone has decided that they will ALWAYS back the winning team, and it’s obvious who is going to win the next election. It would have taken an unprecidented swing in 1992 for Labour to win, 1997 was a dead cert Labour win, again for the following couple of elections. The Sun will be able to say it that, every time they back a party, that party wins – hell, they’d be backing the Lib Dems if they had a 20-point lead of the Tories and Labour.

Take The Sun with a pinch of salt, but it covers 40 minutes at lunch and is best read from the sport backwards. HOWEVER – they have a lot of readers who will do as they are told. So I am sure David Cameron is happy at the news at very least…

Posted by Adam K | Report as abusive

Is the Sun’s decision a fatal blow?

I hope so.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

If the Conservatives need The Sun to give them an election victory, could the last person to leave the UK please put the cat out?

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

Murdoch’s Kiss of Death for the Tories? I hope so. Perhaps Cameron wants page 3 type exposure, so much for the ’empty suit’ brigade. Maybe the UKIP would not suck-up to the power brokers but deal with the nitty gritty of life in GB instead.

Posted by michael | Report as abusive