Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - ''The <em>Sun</em> has yet to decide whom to support''

The Sun's celebrity political editor, Trevor Kavanagh, told the BBC that it would be up to the editor to decide who the paper would support in the election. We don't know if he had a straight face when he said this, though, because he was on the radio.

For those who don't read the biggest-selling daily newspaper in Britain, let me explain that, according to a recent editorial, "our mind has still to be made up" who to support. This is complete rubbish. Saying "we" is a bit rich, given that everyone knows that it is Rupert Murdoch alone who decides these things. But one couldn't argue with the Sun when it said, in the same editorial statement, "In many ways, the Conservatives speak our language." It has led the way in attacking gypsies and asylum-seekers, with the Tories following in its wake.

The biggest myth in political journalism is that the Sun backed Labour at the past two elections, as even the Independent has claimed lately. Murdoch, not the Sun, backed Tony Blair, not Labour. Anyone who reads the paper regularly, as I do, could not possibly believe that it supported any of Labour's policies. Much more important to the owner is that the Prime Minister has done absolutely nothing to curtail his growing media empire. That's why Murdoch is certain to tell the Sun's editor, Rebekah Wade, to support Blair again, if he hasn't told her so already.

In a sense, it is irrelevant who the Sun tells its readers that it's backing, as what matters more is the agenda it's been setting over the past few years - and that's undoubtedly a Tory one. If the Sun decided to tell its readers to back Michael Howard, it would be unlikely to make any difference to the result. What it would do is put the paper on the losing side. I doubt the next Labour leader would then be quite as subservient to Murdoch as Blair has been.

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