Amid the clamour of election night, I’d like to step back for a moment. Theresa May didn’t have to hold this election. She chose to. She surprised us all in her judgement and last night she was surprised by an exit poll — her team left in disbelief — and then results that delivered her a fatal blow. That’s what makes this result even more remarkable.
Not all the data from the counts is in, so it seems rather premature to look in detail at the results. Over the weekend we should learn more on the formation of the ‘informal’ deal that seems to have been struck with the DUP to keep Theresa May in power.
One thing we do know: is that the Conservatives have been punished by the youth. Informal reports suggest a youth turnout as high as 70 per cent, with this effect delivering Labour victories in student towns like Canterbury that have not voted for Labour since WWII.
The youth effect wasn’t large enough to push May out of power, but that doesn’t mean she should neglect the warning that it has delivered.
Politics at the moment isn’t fought on the front pages of national newspapers. If it was, May would have won a landslide, with papers like The Sun declaring Corbyn a ‘terrorist-sympathiser’ and placing him inside a bin. Instead, elections are fought on social media, and within Facebook circles.
No longer do younger people sit down and watch news programmes for an hour. Instead, they flick through Facebook and Twitter, barely looking in detail at the majority of posts. What catches your eye on social media?
The answer is pictured. It;s pictures that attract people’s attention and this is why Labour won so many votes. Jeremy Corbyn’s passion coupled with perfectly orchestrated events, by his aides, culminated in some potent pictures. The pictures create noise and excitement and it’s noise that creates the momentum that gets the young vote out.
The most remarkable example was this rally in Tranmere.
It is powerful pictures like this, that attract people’s attention. They look exciting, they look joyful — nothing like the ordinary staged walkabouts by Theresa May, visiting only her most loyal supporters. It makes voters want to be part of this ‘movement’.
And it is for this reason that people were inclined to click on the picture and watch the video that appeared on their Facebook feed.
With each view, it leads to more shares and more votes. Labour won this election because of May’s failures and Corbyn‘s popular socialist manifesto. But also because of the successful way in which he has managed to deliver his message.
If the Conservative Party do not learn the lesson that this election has delivered, then they will only lose more elections.
Corbyn’s engaging and passionate videos and speeches have engaged the youth vote in a way like never before. I make a prediction now; if the Tory Party do not try and learn from his social media team, then at the next election (whenever that may be!) the Conservative Party will be defeated.
The battle is no longer on Fleet Street. It’s on social media.
More to come on analysis and coverage on Shout Out UK throughout the weekend.