Sun readers left cold by decision to back Blair

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Indy Politics
The Sun backed Blair and its readers besieged its telephone lines. Though there was a smattering of support for the switch of traditional allegiances yesterday, insiders said that most of those calling in were angry readers.

Dave Burgin, 28, an electrician from Essex, was puzzled by what he saw as the sudden volte face. "I was surprised, given what they have been saying for most of the last couple of years," he said.

A Tory voter last time, he said he intended to stay loyal to his party but not necessarily to his newspaper. "I don't know if I'll carry on reading the Sun if they go quite left," he said.

Clive Renno, 39, from Southampton - a colleague working with Mr Burgin on the refurbishment of a hotel in in west London - also backed the Tories last time but would be supporting no one this: "There are too many immigrants in this country and none of the parties do anything about it."

Whatever the Sun said would make no difference. "I don't believe most of what's in the papers anyway," he said. "But I'm surprised. They've always supported the Tory party before and they just suddenly changed."

Among the others working on the hotel refurbishment, most claimed not to read the politics at all - just the sport, the crossword, the cartoons, and even the agony aunt. Yesterday's picture of a female Newcastle United fan in a bikini emblazoned "Ginola" was also a hit. "But I don't read anything about Labour or Conservative," said the man serving up the fried breakfasts.

Martin Giles, 35, a plumber, said he was surprised at the backing for Blair, but it would make no difference to him. "I'd have voted Labour anyway. So close to the election, I don't think it will make a difference."

Many were suspicious of its motives. Paul Dimond, 32, from Wales, said the switch in political allegiance was "two-faced as hell. Murdoch's a businessman, he's there to make money".

Martin Ord, 23, from Newcastle, said the minimum wage, not any editorial, would swing his vote. Builders fear a minimum wage will force their salaries down. So, contrary to popular opinion, it really could be policies, not presentation and polemic, which decides the election result.

Simon Wilson, 29, the site manager from Leeds, said: "It's in the back of our mind that if Labour come in, we might get a fair crack - the Conservatives have killed the building industry. But more fool them if anybody takes notice of the Sun."