Nicola Sturgeon isn’t a sex symbol – but the newspapers are obsessed with her sex. The Tories launched a poster campaign with Miliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket – old hat. The Daily Mail’s cartoonist had poor Ed stuffed between Nicola’s breasts.
If that wasn’t subtle enough for their readers, they went even further and revealed in a long, long piece the story behind her nickname “gnasher”. Apparently for inflicting painful retribution during an intimate sex act on a boyfriend who had annoyed her. (The Mail must be pretty sure that its Scottish readers don’t vote SNP).
When I was Editor of the Scottish Sun, I signed SNP heavyweight Jim Sillars as a columnist and advisor. We had to be different. My former papers The Daily Record and Sunday Mail, run by Tories, slavishly followed Labour. My sense was that the Scottish people didn’t want full independence, but they most definitely wanted to be governed a hell of a lot better, not by a London-centric elite who treated anything north of the border as foreign policy.
The voters wanted politicians prepared to scrap tooth and nail for a better Scotland. Labour were tired, predictable and failing to provide the answer. No change there then.
The appeal of the SNP was that they were tied to no one and a had big point to make – you couldn’t trust the so-called “big” parties to deliver and they were going to make damn sure they were held to account every second of every day.
For the first time – through The Scottish Sun – the SNP had access to the pages of a national newspaper on a regular basis and the opportunity to move from a party of rebellion to genuine contenders. If not forming a government, certainly creating an influence for change.
Labour couldn’t work us out – and interestingly they never tried, instead standing just out of arm’s length. And that’s where they have stayed since, ahead of the biggest single political stuffing coming their way in a few short weeks’ time.
The Scottish Sun subsequently fully embraced the SNP. Easy to see why – Salmond and Sturgeon are the best politicians by a country mile. Nicola showed that in the leaders’ TV debate. She has got that magic touch, even the English voters admire her. She is right in your face, but too warm a person to suffer from the Maggie finger-wagging lecturing mode. And too smart.
Jim Murphy by contrast is a cold fish, has that feel of being parachuted in by London – too little, too late, trying to save the second raters on the Labour benches in Edinburgh.
Nicola is the real thing, always has been. She is heading for a massive landslide. And the newspapers will attack her hair, her dress and use her sex against her. That would be a mistake – it will only make the voters love her more.
+ As someone who has a LinkedIn profile picture taken some years ago, I make no apology for the Nicola picture above. It’s how I think of her.
Steve Sampson – Media ■ Innovator ■ Journalist ■ Broadcaster ■ Venturist ■ Founder and CEO Various Digital Companies