Pro-independence Scottish newspaper proves a hit

LONDON (AFP) - Scotland's first pro-independence daily newspaper is to become a permanent fixture after a successful pilot week in which it sold 100,000 copies on a single day, its publishers said Friday.

The National, a 32-page tabloid costing 50 pence (S$1.02), was launched on Monday and sold out its 60,000 print run.

Publisher Newsquest made the move after its weekly, the Sunday Herald, saw a surge in sales after becoming the only Scottish paper to favour independence in the run-up to the Sept 18 referendum.

Scottish residents voted by 55 per cent to 45 per cent (two million to 1.6 million) to remain part of the United Kingdom.

The editorial in Friday's copy said: "Our first edition sold out. We printed 100,000 copies the following day, and sales stayed at a high level.

"They have slipped slightly since - as sales inevitably do after a launch edition. But they remain beyond our wildest dreams and are bolstered by more than 11,000 digital subscriptions.

"It's been an incredible - if challenging - week."

The masthead describes the tabloid as "the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland".

However, the paper insists it will not be a "mouthpiece" for the pro-independence Scottish National Party of new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, which runs the devolved government sitting in Edinburgh.

The Spectator news magazine said: "It remains a shoestring operation for now - but its mere appearance is more significant than its quality. It is a reminder that the thirst for change in Scotland remains unquenched."