Which way is the Sun going to jump?
Probably the best way of assessing reaction to the budget is to look at how the Sun and the Mirror are covering it.
In spite of its opposition to the war the Mirror is solidly back behind Labour and will do everything in its power to help get the party’s ‘s core vote out on the day. It’s “Mr. Incredible” front-page sets the tone and the only question is whether this is just too over the top to have any impact.
The Sun is more interesting and it’s still not clear which way it will go. It does not look as though it will back Labour with the same gusto that it supported the party in 1997 or 2001 – or that it will oppose it in the way it sought to demonise Kinnock in 1992.
So what are we to make of today’s Sun front page?
It’s clever, creative and gets over its message in a way that is probably not good news for Tony Blair. The repeated use of the word “bribe” and the line “women lured with cash for kids” are certainly not sympathetic. But inside the story is about “Sun readers being quids in”. From this you cannot see Tony Blair getting the same ringing endorsement that he enjoyed last time – but the paper does not look as though it will back Howard.
If the Tory campaign does start to make inroads then you can envisage Rupert Murdoch giving them some moderate support. Otherwise the paper might be neutral. This is important for as Simon Carrr in his Independent column observes dryly today, “Trevor Kavanagh, the political editor of The Sun … now senior to the Lord Chancellor in our rapidly evolving constitution”.
As we noted last night the budget has left the betting markets largely unmoved.
Â© Mike Smithson 2005