Today, the Scottish Sunday Mail, sister paper of the Daily Record, carries this editorial attack on Labour’s newly-selected Westminster candidate for Falkirk. I don’t know Karen Whitefield very well but she’s known as a hard-working former MSP, is employed by the thoroughly decent union USDAW, she’s very personable and apparently spoke very well at the selection meeting.
On Friday, the Daily Record published this attack on ‘cowardly’ Labour MPs. The MP’s are ‘cowardly’ for not replying to a Record invitation to criticise IPSA. Can you guess what the story would have been if they’d chosen to criticise the body the paper has previously said should be sacrosanct from MP interference? There’s been quite a lot of this kind of weird, terribly-written and badly edited, anti-Labour stuff recently. What’s up?
In 2000, The Record’s circulation was 660,000. Today, it’s barely a third of that. In fact, while all newspapers are suffering sharp declines in circulation, the Record is in a special class along with The Independent. Moreover, the Scottish Sun has been kicking the Record’s arse in Scotland for some time now. Red-top readers don’t normally pick their papers according to the political party it happens to support, of course. However, in Scotland SNP supporters do actively avoid the Record because it’s seen as Labour’s house newspaper. The Scottish Sun ostensibly supports the SNP; SNP folk quite like that, naturally. But most ‘Labour’ readers also know the Sun can’t feasibly support the Tories in Scotland and so they don’t take the SNP thing too seriously.
In 2011, the Record’s owners, Trinity Mirror, turned the newspaper into essentially a glorified local. The very able editor who ran it then was forced out and Trinity Mirror pretended this all represented the launch of a new, Scottish, media group. This was, of course, a daft untruth which fooled no-one. Since then, The Record’s advertising revenue, editorial standards and circulation have been falling like a stone. So while it’s always taken a risible line of claimed moral-superiority, it’s dropping even that now in a panic. It’s begging you SNP folk, “Please, please save us – we dinnae hate you really”. However, SNP folk know the Record does indeed hate them and seem unlikely to be fooled. Former Record political editor and present Scottish Labour media bloke Paul Sinclair has always been very good at getting plenty of stuff published in the Record. That’s unlikely to change – the paper has so few other political ‘sources’.
It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the people at the Daily Record that the paper is dying on its feet simply because it’s a bit crap these post-2011 days. The evidence? Labour-supporting Scots are buying the ostensibly Tory Sun in droves and most are doing so simply because they prefer it as a product. That, combined with SNP and Tory antipathy, is killing the Record off.
Note to Labour folk – the Sun supports whoever it thinks it going to win. The Daily “no-one’s good enough for us” Record is dying on its feet.
Note to Labour candidates – think very carefully about who’s really helping the Record/Sunday Mail with those damaging stories……