Will the Sun win the election for the Conservatives?
The 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?