The new rules of general elections

ELECTIONEERING

So that was that.

The snap general election that was never going to happen happened.

The people voted and Theresa May, having swapped her confident dictator expression for that of a startled gargoyle, was returned to No10… at least for the rest of the month.

While not even the experts can make head, tail, arse or elbow of the results and what they mean for the future of the country and the type of Brexit we can now expect (hard, soft or lightly scrambled on toast?), we PR types can stand proud and tall and point to two key points that explain perfectly why what happened happened.

 

Theresa may need media training

Quite how our Prime Minister got to be Prime Minister without appearing to have the slightest bit of confidence in front of the cameras is beyond me.

Every time I saw her on TV during the campaign I cringed at the prospect of what she was about to say. And as for photo opps… let’s just say, out-gurning Donald Trump is one hell of an achievement.

Put to one side for a moment the unpopular policies, the decision not to appear on the TV debates, the un-costed manifesto, Brexit, Boris and those leather trousers and consider the lady. She may not be for turning. But boy, does she need a PR makeover.

Personally, I’d start by sending her to my mum’s for a morning to learn how to charm the bejesus out of everyone from the postman to the butcher, the boy at the cheese counter at Waitrose to the grumpy old bloke next door who’s called round to angrily complain about deafening grandchildren in the back garden.

I’m not joking by the way.

Had my mum been leader of the Tories in this election she would have walked away with a 100 plus majority easily. The reason? People would have liked her. And that’s where Theresa fell down. People didn’t like her and despite what so many say about voting for parties and policies, it’s as clear as the beard on my chin that it’s personalities that win votes.

So Theresa, if you’re reading – give me a call and I’ll set you up with a top secret outing to Otley to meet my mum followed by an afternoon’s media training with Source.

 

Jeremy’s social mobility

He started as the biggest rank outsider in a two horse race since a drunk Eeyore inadvisably challenged Red Rum to a race at the 1977 TV Awards – and even then there wasn’t much in it.

But with the Labour party big hitters jostling in the shadows to be first in line to step into his leadership shoes when the election left the party down, out and directionless, Corbyn and Co pulled off a masterstroke – they went social.

It began with that dabbing meme and became an avalanche across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Young voters were being engaged with in their comfort zones and Corbyn went from cretin to cult to cool in a matter of weeks.

And their content ruled the roost. It was witty, it was engaging and in the most part it kept away from the personal attacks that seemed the sole strategy for Tory tweeting.

 

The end result

Of course at the end of that longest of nights, Theresa May did win the election, and Labour and Jeremy Corbyn lost.

But for perhaps the first time in my memory, the winners came out looking a lot like losers, and the losers definitely appeared to have come out on top.

What happens next is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say we’ll see the Conservatives anxiously headhunting social media talent, and Theresa May sporting a brand new, user-friendly smile. 

Written by Daniel Kennedy, 15/06/2017