Celebrity endorsement has come to a newspaper near you in the forms of lists of footballers (tabloids) or business people (“broadsheets” – that term surely needs replaced – “pretendy serious” perhaps). Who’se got the best names on their list…depends on your perspective. Whose got the most names…surely it will only ever be the tip of the iceberg – surely. Whose got the biggest circulation (Severin Carrell in the Guardian seemed to think this was important) obviously depends what paper(s) you pay to run the advert.
The only thing that is actually important is: What the hell are these people are signing up to? It seems that the Nationalists nailed their supporters into actually supporting the SNP explicity. Transpires that whoever was behind the other adverts could only get its people to support the Union, not Labour – the Union.
The way I see it is there are probably a lot of people in Scotland who want an Independent Scotland but don’t support the SNP’s policy lines. These people are to be found in all of the Unionist political parties. So it would have been EASIER for the SNP to have an Independence “motion” to sign up to and so attract people who will not support the SNP as a party. But they didn’t do this – and their position is strategic and logical – put the focus on the party, not on the policy.
But, if the Unionist aren’t even brave enough to come out for the Labour party then they’re engaging in some complex messaging. Presumably the idea is to focus on the risk to the Union, but this is an election for the next Scottish parliament and (unfortunately, from my point of view, it’s not about the Union this year) doesn’t accord with the way our party system works.
Unfortunately, the downside is many will see those footballers and business people who support the Union as delivering a vote of no confidence in the Labour party. Out enough to support the Union, but too shy to support Labour – bit sad really. Or, maybe they just couldn’t find enough Labour supporters (of any calibre) who were brave enough to pop their heads over the parapet and sign on the Labour line.
The only other, other question is: did they pay or were they paid. I don’t suppose appearing in an advert justifies a peerage but it could be a step along the way…