Here are five thoughts I had while watching the election results last night and this morning.
1. The Conservative Party’s coronation of Theresa May as their leader last summer looks, with hindsight, to have been a mistake. Mrs May only had to win over her fellow MPs and not party members. She did not have to do any debates or unpredictable public appearances. Had she done so, her weakness in this area may have been exposed. Or, if you prefer, her experience of a months long leadership campaign against Andrea Leadsome might have made her a more confident campaigner in 2017.
2. By contrast, the perennial leadership contests faced by Jeremy Corbyn were good for his general election campaign. He and his supporters have been organising rallies and practicising social media mobilisation for the past two summers. And many of the criticisms thrown at him during this recent campaign were aired during the contests in 2015 and 2016.
3. The waning influence of the newspapers has been exposed for all to see. I felt this to be the case during the election campaign of 2010: the newspapers launched an incongruous attack on Nick Clegg, which did not appear to stop the Liberal Democrat surge. In 2017, the tabloids unleashed pages upon pages of attacks against Mr Corbyn past, policies and personalities. The public appears to have ignored this blatant attempt by the newspaper barons to influence the election in their favour.
One of the important things here is that the disgraceful tabloid newspapers aren't controlling the narrative – a victory in itself #GE2017
— Imogen Tyler (@DrImogenTyler) June 9, 2017
The British right wing press led a vicious campaign of lies, smears, hatred and bigotry. And millions told them where to stick it
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) June 9, 2017
4. The terrorists do not appear to have influenced the election. Our country suffered two dispicable terrorist attacks during the course of the election campaign. These attacks were designed to cause chaos, to distract us from the democratic business at hand, and to provoke an illiberal backlash. The party that stooped to this bait—Theresa May’s Conservative’s—lost seats.
5. Our human rights protections look a little more secure. The Conservative Party manifesto sought to tee up an attack on our human rights framework. It suggested that the Human Rights Act would be repealed after Brexit was completed, and that withdrawl from the ECHR could happen in a future parliament. And then, following the London Bridge terror attacks, Theresa May said she was willing to rip up inconvenient human rights laws. Doing this now would require a parliamentary majority and a pile of political capital that Mrs May simply does not hold.
@mjrharris We need to start thinking how to capitalise on this moment. Lock in consensus that HRA / ECHR are not to be messed with
— robertsharp59 (@robertsharp59) June 9, 2017
Now is the time: push back against militarised police, against deportations, against Prevent. Let's make the difficult arguments. #GE2017
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) June 9, 2017