Political views::The Independent


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Political views When the paper was established in 1986, the founders intended its political stance to reflect the centre of the British political spectrum and thought that it would take readers primarily from The Times and The Daily Telegraph. It has been seen as leaning to the left, making it more a competitor to The Guardian, although both also feature conservative columnists. The Independent tends to take a classical liberal, pro-market stance on economic issues.<ref name="Wilby"/> In an editorial on 27 January 2013, the Independent on Sunday referred to itself as a "proudly liberal newspaper".<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

An Ipsos MORI poll estimated that in the 2010 general election, 44% of regular readers voted Liberal Democrat, 32% voted Labour,<ref>Also here:</ref> and 14% voted Conservative.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> On the eve of the 2010 general election, The Independent supported the Liberal Democrats, arguing that "they are longstanding and convincing champions of civil liberties, sound economics, international co-operation on the great global challenges and, of course, fundamental electoral reform. These are all principles that this newspaper has long held dear. That is why we argue that there is a strong case for progressively minded voters to lend their support to the Liberal Democrats wherever there is a clear opportunity for that party to win."<ref name=lead2010may5>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> However the weekend before the 2015 general election saw The Independent on Sunday claim it would not be advising its readers how to vote in 2015. The editorial piece claimed "this does not mean that we are a bloodless, value-free news-sheet. We have always been committed to social justice" but the paper recognised it was up the readers to "make up your own mind about whether you agree with us or not". Rather than support a particular party, the paper urged all its reader to vote as "a responsibility of common citizenship".<ref></ref> However, on 4 May 2015, the weekday version of The Independent thought that a continuation of the Conservative Party–Liberal Democrat coalition after the general election would be a positive outcome.<ref>"Editorial: In defence of liberal democracy", The Independent, 4 May 2015</ref>

A leader published on the day of the 2008 London Mayoral election, compared the candidates and said that, if the newspaper had a vote, it would vote first for the Green Party candidate, Sian Berry, noting the similarity between her priorities and those of The Independent, and secondly, with "rather heavy heart", for the then incumbent, Ken Livingstone.<ref name="London endorsement">"So consonant are her priorities with those of this paper that, if we could vote for mayor today, we would place our first-preference cross against her name. This would underscore the importance of the environment to both London and to the rest of the nation. Then, and with rather heavy heart, it would be illogical to do anything other than make Ken Livingstone our second choice." {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

The paper took a strong editorial position against the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the Iraq War, and aspects of US and UK foreign policy related to the War on Terrorism following the 11 September attacks. It has been a strong supporter of electoral reform.<ref name=lead2010may5/> The paper has also taken strong positions on environmental issues, campaigned against the introduction of ID cards, and campaigned against the restriction of mass immigration to the UK. In 1997, The Independent on Sunday launched a campaign for the decriminalisation of cannabis. Ten years later, it reversed itself, stating that the cannabis strain skunk "smoked by the majority of young Britons" in 2007 had become "25 times stronger than resin sold a decade ago."<ref name="Indy cannabis">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> In addition, The Independent has highlighted what it refers to as "war crimes" being committed by pro-government forces in the Darfur region of Sudan.<ref name="Indy Darfur">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

Originally it avoided royal stories, Whittam Smith later saying he thought the British press was "unduly besotted" with the Royal Family and that a newspaper could "manage without" stories about the monarchy.<ref name="Whittam Smith Royals">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

In 2007, Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, said of The Independent: "The emphasis on views, not news, means that the reporting is rather thin, and it loses impact on the front page the more you do that."<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> In a 12 June 2007 speech British Prime Minister Tony Blair called The Independent a "viewspaper", saying it "was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views not news. That was why it was called the Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper not merely a newspaper".<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> The Independent criticised Blair's comments the following day.<ref>Grice, Andrew (13 June 2007). "Blair's attack provokes anger among newspaper editors and broadcasters". The Independent (London). Retrieved 9 December 2009.</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> The newspaper has since ironically changed format to include a 'Viewspaper' insert in the centre of the regular newspaper, designed to feature most of the opinion columns and arts reviews.

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