The Sun, convinced as always of their own import, back Labour and announce their decision in mock-Vatican style by releasing red smoke from a chimney in Wapping.
Its editorial offers grudging support for Labour and a good deal of sympathy for the Tories:
We grant the Conservatives one thing. On crime and most of their immigration policies, they talk good, tough sense.
Basically it amounts to a series of reasons for Tories to vote Labour again:
The Sun says Tony Blair — warts and all — will be the only real choice for Britain on May 5.
When the Tories start acting like Conservatives, they might deserve our support.
…..We hope one day the Tories will be back and fit for office. Who knows?
But for now, two weeks today on May 5, The Sun urges Britain to vote for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for two reasons: Standing firm on Iraq and the lack of a real alternative.
Well, they are two good reasons.
But to ask the Million Mackie question – does it really matter?
I don’t think even Murdoch’s boys will be claiming “It woz the Sun wot won it” this time around and while I’ve never seen figures I’m sceptical as to how much influence newspaper editorials have on voters.
But put it this way – you can be sure that if The Sun had come out for the Tories that would be being reported as a ‘major blow’ to Labour’s campaign.
Its not particularly good news for Labour to be backed by The Sun (although the embarassment is eased by their criticisms) but it is very bad news for the Tories that having run a campaign on the issues the reactionary right-wing tabloids lap up – immigration and crime – they still can’t get their support.