A series of tweets from News International chairman Rupert Murdoch has heightened speculation that the Scottish edition of the Sun may be planning to throw its weight behind the Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum.
The media mogul, who has previously expressed his admiration for Scottish Nationalist leader Alex Salmond, took to the social media site to comment on the first poll to put the Yes campaign ahead, saying that the result “reflects worldwide disillusion with political leaders and old establishments”.
Scottish poll reflects world-wide disillusion with political leaders and old establishments leaving openings for libertarians and far left.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) September 6, 2014
Murdoch also claimed that internal SNP polling showed a big majority for independence and accused his long running rival, the BBC, of being “biased for No”.
Salmond’s private polls predict 54-46 Yes. Desperate last ten days ahead for both sides. Most powerful media, BBC, totally biased for No. — Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) September 7, 2014
Media watchers on both sides of the border have noticed an increasing divergence between the editorial lines of the Scottish and English editions of the best selling tabloid. After the poll result the English edition of the Sun ran with the headline “Jocky Horror Show” while the Scottish version headlined the same story “Panic attack”.
Andrew Neil, a former News International editor who knows Murdoch well, told the Independent today: “He’s very close to putting the [Scottish] Sun behind Salmond and Yes.”
The possibility that the Sun could back Yes will be a boost to pro-independence supporters as referendum day draws ever closer. The Scottish Sun is the biggest selling newspaper in the country with audited circulation figures of 260,000 copies sold per day.