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The Sun says: Stop the SNP! The Scottish Sun says: Back the SNP!

Are the Scottish nationalists "saboteurs" or Scotland's best hope? It depends which edition of the Sun you buy.

The Sun newspaper has offered its election endorsement tonight - and it's a resounding call to vote for the Tories. A government led by a creepy baby version of David Cameron is an absolute necessity, in order to keep out the "saboteurs" of the SNP, who are hellbent on ruining our great union.

*puts hand to ear piece* What's that? Sorry? Oh. Right.

Sorry, no idea what happened there. Actually, it turns out the SNP are a great bunch of lads, and Nicola Sturgeon is a hero of our times. Please update your handbooks accordingly.

Perhaps Freddie Starr ate their consistency. 

Yes, the Sun and the Scottish Sun have pursued their own form of devo-max, and come to completely contradictory conclusions about the best path for Britain on 7 May.

Of course, there is one uniting factor in these two front pages: they are both calculated to do maximum damage to Ed Miliband. 

Update, because why not: the Sun's head of PR Dylan Sharpe  has tweeted this statement by the paper. Papers. "The Sun is written first and foremost for its readers, and the UK edition and Scottish edition have two very distinct audiences. If Scotland and England were playing each other at football, no one would expect The Scottish Sun to support the English national team."

This is a fair point. The Scottish Sun probably couldn't get away with saying that the English national team shouldn't be allowed to play football at all, though. 

I'm a mole, innit.

Photo: Getty
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Ignored by the media, the Liberal Democrats are experiencing a revival

The crushed Liberals are doing particularly well in areas that voted Conservative in 2015 - and Remain in 2016. 

The Liberal Democrats had another good night last night, making big gains in by-elections. They won Adeyfield West, a seat they have never held in Dacorum, with a massive swing. They were up by close to the 20 points in the Derby seat of Allestree, beating Labour into second place. And they won a seat in the Cotswolds, which borders the vacant seat of Witney.

It’s worth noting that they also went backwards in a safe Labour ward in Blackpool and a safe Conservative seat in Northamptonshire.  But the overall pattern is clear, and it’s not merely confined to last night: the Liberal Democrats are enjoying a mini-revival, particularly in the south-east.

Of course, it doesn’t appear to be making itself felt in the Liberal Democrats’ poll share. “After Corbyn's election,” my colleague George tweeted recently, “Some predicted Lib Dems would rise like Lazarus. But poll ratings still stuck at 8 per cent.” Prior to the local elections, I was pessimistic that the so-called Liberal Democrat fightback could make itself felt at a national contest, when the party would have to fight on multiple fronts.

But the local elections – the first time since 1968 when every part of the mainland United Kingdom has had a vote on outside of a general election – proved that completely wrong. They  picked up 30 seats across England, though they had something of a nightmare in Stockport, and were reduced to just one seat in the Welsh Assembly. Their woes continued in Scotland, however, where they slipped to fifth place. They were even back to the third place had those votes been replicated on a national scale.

Polling has always been somewhat unkind to the Liberal Democrats outside of election campaigns, as the party has a low profile, particularly now it has just eight MPs. What appears to be happening at local by-elections and my expectation may be repeated at a general election is that when voters are presented with the option of a Liberal Democrat at the ballot box they find the idea surprisingly appealing.

Added to that, the Liberal Democrats’ happiest hunting grounds are clearly affluent, Conservative-leaning areas that voted for Remain in the referendum. All of which makes their hopes of a good second place in Witney – and a good night in the 2017 county councils – look rather less farfetched than you might expect. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.