A second English regional title has backed the campaign to prevent the break-up of the UK as one of Scotland’s biggest titles also came out in favour of the Union.
In what Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield described as an “incredibly important day” for its Edinburgh flagship, The Scotsman published a lengthy editorial explaining its decision to oppose independence.
The title, which is traditionally regarded as pro-Union, said Scotland’s best interests lay “not in creating division but in continuing in the Union and using its strengths to help us continue in our success.”
Meanwhile JP sister title the Northants Telegraph, which has a sizeable number of Scottish expats in its circulation area, also backed the ‘Better Together’ campaign on the front page of its Corby edition.
Earlier this year it staged a mini-referendum on the issue which saw residents come out strongly against independence.
The daily-turned-weekly is the second English-based title to come out in favour of the union.
Last weekend the Southern Daily Echo entered the fray with a seven-page special backing the Better Together camp.
Today’s Scotsman editorial said Scotland had succeeded in being a “prosperous, peaceful, successful country” as part of the UK.
The paper said in its 2,000-word leader: “With the choices before us, the conclusion is that we are better together, that Scotland’s best interests lie not in creating division but in continuing in the Union and using its strengths to help us continue in our success.
“That is not a view taken because of fear, or lack of confidence, or lack of patriotism. It is the very opposite. It is not a view that simply does not want to take risk.
“It is a measured view that assesses risk against possible benefit and loss. It is seeing where the best interests of the Scottish people lie, understanding the benefits of working with the people in these islands in collaboration and partnership and seeing the opportunity to shape the strongest, most secure, fair and just society that we all want.”
The only regional paper so far to come out in favour of independence is the Newsquest-owned Sunday Herald.
Its weekday stablemate The Herald – regarded as The Scotsman’s traditional rival on the newsstands – has yet to declare.