New Scottish nationalist paper hits newsstands

New Scottish nationalist paper hits newsstands
A brand new daily paper claiming to “fly a vibrant flag for Scottish independence” has launched in Scotland. The National has been pioneered in the wake of September’s independence referendum which saw 45 percent vote in favor of separation.

The paper, which will be sold for 50p, is published by the news agency Newsquest, which already publishes Scottish papers the Herald, the Sunday Herald and the Evening Times north of the border.

Its masthead features an image of Scotland detached completely from England and describes itself as “the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland.”

While The National is only on a five-day daily trial, Herald and Times group Managing Director Tim Blott said if the trial proves a success the paper “will become a new and dynamic fixture in Scottish publishing.

He further said that the paper was an opportunity to engage with a newly politicized sector of the population.

The National is an exciting opportunity to meet the needs of a very politically-engaged section of the Scottish population.”

“We recognize that launching a newspaper in 2014 is to some extent counter-intuitive but we consistently argue for the power of great journalism and informed opinion,” he added.

Prior to the independence referendum, the only newspaper which came out in support of the movement was the Herald, but one source claims that, politically, this is a “good” time to launch a nationalist newspaper.

SNP has just passed 80,000 members and Nicola Sturgeon has just been named as the first female First Minister,” said the source.

They are riding a tidal wave of interest in nationalism. And national daily newspaper launches are very rare, even if it is just Scotland, even as a pilot it is a big deal,” they added.

Newly elected party leader Nicola Sturgeon.(Reuters / Cathal McNaughton)

The first editorial of The National reads: “The status quo is no longer an option and there is an unquenchable desire for greater devolution … It is with this uppermost in mind that today we launch The National, a daily newspaper that will fly a vibrant flag for independence and the right for Scots to govern themselves.”

Parallels have been drawn between The National and The Independent spin-off ‘i’, which is also sold at a cut price and relies on its sister productions for both resources and content.

Editor of the new paper Richard Walker announced the launch of the paper on November 22 at an SNP rally in Glasgow.

Despite its political standpoint, the editorial insists that is it not “a mouthpiece of the Scottish National Party and the government it leads.”

“In a population of some 5 million, with 45 percent of those eligible voting Yes, only one newspaper – our sister paper, the Sunday Herald – spoke out in favor of independence. That seems to us unfair.

“The raison d’etre of The National is to redress the balance and cogently to argue the case for independence,” it adds.

Walker told BBC Scotland the introduction of a new daily paper is primarily about providing work.

We haven’t employed staff on a permanent level because clearly it’s a five-day trial but once that trial is over and, as I’m confident will happen, we continue, then yeah, we’ll be employing new people. For me this is about creating jobs.