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New pro-independence Scottish newspaper launched

LONDON: A new, pro-independence newspaper hit the stands in Scotland on Monday, pledging to “fly a vibrant flag for independence and the right for Scots to govern themselves”, despite the defeat for the “Yes” camp in September’s referendum.

The National, which is being published on a five-day pilot period, is the first Scottish daily newspaper backing separation from the United Kingdom.

Costing 50 pence ($0.80, 65 euro cents) and with a 50,000 print run, the tabloid-sized paper runs to 32 colour pages.

It is being published by Newsquest, which also produces the Sunday Herald, which saw a surge in sales after becoming the only Scottish paper to favour independence in the run-up to the September 18 referendum, when Scottish residents voted by 55 percent to 45 percent to remain part of the United Kingdom.

The front page of the first edition is topped by a Scottish flag and a masthead reading “THE NATIONAL”, with a map of Scotland in place of the I, and “The newspaper that supports an independent Scotland” printed below.

The front page featured a picture of a child’s blue eyes and the headline “Give Scotland the powers to cut child poverty”.

“The status quo is no longer an option and there is an unquenchable desire for greater devolution,” the editorial reads.

“It is with this uppermost in mind that today we launch The National, a daily newspaper that will fly a vibrant flag for independence and the right for Scots to govern themselves.”

The editorial says the paper is not a “mouthpiece” for the pro-independence Scottish National Party of new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, which runs the devolved government sitting in Edinburgh.

The editorial said it was “unfair” that only one newspaper backed independence during the referendum, in which 1.6 million people voted in favour of separation.

“There is a democratic deficit in terms of the Scottish media,” it read.

“The raison d’etre of The National is to redress the balance and cogently to argue the case for independence.”

If the pilot proves successful, the newspaper will continue. – AFP

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