The system at the moment is not working for a lot of people. The Conservatives recognized that Brexit was significant and meant more than just leaving the European Union — it was a vote to depart from the status quo.
Theresa May’s first speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street tried to position the Tories as the party that understood the system wasn’t working for ordinary people. But their conservatism and belief in the way things are prevented them from following through and proposing a manifesto that would transform people’s lives.
When the Labour manifesto leaked it sparked a huge amount of intrigue. The policies were very popular and the media gave them a lot of coverage. I think this election is the first where social media played a pivotal role. It wasn’t just the content that the Labour Party itself produced, it was about the outsiders, the public opinion shapers, such as Novara, Another Angry Voice and the Canary. The top ten links shared on Facebook during the general election campaign were either pro-Labour or anti-Tory, achieving roughly half a million shares each. So we’re talking about huge numbers with huge reach.
Then you also had influencers like Lowkey and JME producing content that went viral and reached out further to parts of the electorate that politicians and political parties don’t traditionally attempt to engage with. This was particularly the case with young voters.
In Jeremy we have an exceptional candidate for prime minister, who can demonstrate with this principles and record a kind of integrity previously unheard of in an age of professionalized, media-driven politics. Throughout his career he has been consistent and spoken his mind on issues that were not popular at the time. Young people are cynical about politicians, thinking “Oh they say things just to win votes.” They want politicians who are straight-talking and honest. Jeremy provided them with that.
Then there was also the waning of mainstream media influence. Before the election coverage of Jeremy Corbyn was so over-the-top negative that many people no longer saw them as objective, they lost credibility. This allowed a narrative to take hold that the election was a battle between the people and the establishment — and it was this that won Labour the support of 12.8 million people.