At every election time, the editors most of the the UK’s national newspapers always like to tell their readers which political party to vote for.
It’s no secret that most of the same newspapers have backed the Conservative party either directly (e.g., The Telegraph, Daily Mail) or indirectly (e.g., The Sun, Daily Star). That means they publish a constant stream of articles attacking the Labour party. At the other end of the scale, The Daily Mirror is the only newspaper that has openly backed Labour, despite their mistakes in government.
Many commentators make the mistake of claiming that what people read in the print media directly influences voting behaviour. I believe that is exaggerated. Politically, I’m the member of the Liberal Democrats, but I buy the Labour-supporting Mirror, the right-leaning London Evening Standard, and the left-leaning (but not too Labour) Guardian. I also am a regular reader of my local newspaper. I read many articles and make my political opinions based on what I read and can either believe them or dismiss them. I bet most people are the same.
However, for some reason, there’s often a hardcore number of people who believe everything they read in the press, particularly on issues such as crime and immigration, and they leave often sarcastic or hateful comments on websites or letters pages. They more often than not don’t bother wasting their time checking about what they read. No wonder many commentators argue that Britain has probably the least-informed electorate in the world.
It’s rather depressing that newspaper proprietors like Rupert Murdoch and Richard Desmond still believe that their opinions count in elections, and particularly this one, where there seems to be very little public confidence in the agendas of the mainstream parties. However, it is the parties’ policies… and those of the others… which will eventually decide the general election result on May 6th.