November 23, 2014 by Paul Goldsmith
One of the most important complaints that Alex Salmond and the SNP had about the run up to the referendum was the quite astonishing fact that every single newspaper in the UK was in the “No” camp, apart from one, which was the Sunday Herald . This is no longer so, should an experiment next week work successfully.
On Monday, “The National” will be published. It is a pilot for a new, daily pro-independence national newspaper. It will be published for five days only, with the publishers Newsquest saying that they needed to be convinced by independence supporters that there is a market for it.
It will be edited by Richard Walker, who also edits the Sunday Herald, and will be available in the shops as a newspaper for 50p and online too. Walker said that there had been discussions about it costing 45p, a symbolic reference to the 45% of the electorate who had voted for independence. But this was changed, because, as Walker said, “We are no longer the 45. We are the 50-plus and we will become the 60 and the 70.”
He might have a point. It was hard for the “yes” campaign to get their message over to the electorate when they had only one print media supporter, which is why the televised debates had such an effect, and why they worked so hard online. Having a daily newspaper, launched at a time when newspaper circulation in general is falling, might make a difference, in addition to the changes happening in the political landscape.
Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP feel that to have achieved 45% when the cultural hegemony of the “No” campaign was so strong, means that with further gains in next year’s UK general election, (and a Conservative government, just to wind up the Scots a bit more), could mean a mandate at the 2016 Scottish Assembly elections to push for a new Independence referendum.
One thing is for sure, this isn’t going to go away.