Just in

Phew!

With apologies for even mentioning it, especially in the context of the wall-to-wall, minute-by-minute, media coverage we’ve been subjected these last 24 hours, but I feel moved to provide some observations upon the result of the General Election.

In no order of importance, especially since I have been only dipping in and out of the blanket coverage plus the attendant triumphalism and recriminations:

Yesterday’s Fleet Street analysis – necessarily produced under extreme pressure with first editions going to press in the wee hours of the night – was to my mind remarkably good. The one organ whose efforts I was able to read from cover to cover, that of The Times, was uniformly exceptional. The journalist profession is often an easy target for denigration but on this occasional I tip my hat to its exponents.

It would seem that three factors played a significant part in the outcome.

votersFirstly, the general cynicism of the electorate towards the political class and particularly their default activities of blindly towing the party line, failing to answer the question, spewing pre-heated slogans and vacuous politico-speak by the yard, constant petty point-scoring and their apparent unerring capacity for taking the public both for granted and for fools.

Secondly – this apparently a development that emerged from left field during the course of the snap election’s short campaign – some sort of political ‘awakening’ amongst young people (those perhaps aged 16 to 26). There is a but small jump between a general intelligent but passive awareness of political issues and a determination to get actively involved to one degree or another but it is one that seemingly that many youngsters made over the past two months.

This may have more than a little to do with a sense of ‘them and us’, of frustration about lack of access to the property ladder (or even finding somewhere to live), or student loans/debt, or the suggestion that the current younger generation may be the first in a while to consigned to being worse off than its predecessor, or even concerns that politicians everywhere are simply not addressing ‘the future’ (climate change, renewable energy, the impact of the advances of robots and artificial intelligence upon human job prospects etc.) with sufficient urgency and resolve.

mediaAnd thirdly, in a general sense, the advent and rapidly-evolving means by which young (and not so young) communicate these days.

I’m probably edging gingerly here into areas that I don’t fully understand because I have been – and intend to remain – essentially a stranger to the world of social media.

However, I do know that those analysing the electoral success of President Obama – and for that matter, probably President Trump as well – pointed to the fact that, whilst not ignoring the traditional areas of television advertising, leafleting and canvassing, the strategists’ use of the internet community and social media – their fluidity and instantaneous nature – and the phenomenon of quips, comments and blog videos suddenly ‘going viral’ and into the stratosphere in terms of public awareness.

Adjuncts of the above are, of course, the vexed issue of ‘fake news’ and internet providers and enablers vetting (or not) the content that their users or subscribers put up on the internet.

We all know the saying “One man’s meat is another’s poison”, but in political terms one man’s true facts can be another’s unsubstantiated propaganda – and that applies whether you are left-leaning and the other is right-leaning, or vice versa.

Corbyn2And – some might argue – the end always justifies the means. If you can invent some scurrilous rumour of wrongdoing by your opponent and ‘get it out there’, your opponent may indeed protest that it’s fake news or demonstrably and provably untrue, but by the time he’s gone to the all effort and time of researching and bringing forward the evidence to do that, not only may ‘the cat be out of the bag’, gathering momentum and out of control, impossible to retrieve … but the election is suddenly over before you know it.

Job done.

As for where we are now, Mrs May is a busted flush and for me epitomises much that is wrong and repugnant about the political elite.

At the beginning of last week some female academic of reputation commented that whilst Mrs May was undoubtedly hardworking and diligent, she was plainly not the sharpest tool in the box.

Worse than that (I feel) is that she’s just not very good with people.

May4Someone coined the nick-name ‘The Maybot’ and it seemed to fit.

To see her on television, in interview after interview, responding by ignoring the question and simply giving out (and often repeating again and again) her own carefully-rehearsed official lines like some sort of ‘speak your weight’ machine – despite all the evidence that what she was saying was clearly illogical and/or rot – was pitiful.

Some received opinion has it that the biggest Bermudan Triangle of the recent General Election campaign was Diane Abbott.

Not it wasn’t.

It was Mrs May, believe me.

About Lavinia Thompson

A university lecturer for many years, both at home and abroad, Lavinia Thompson retired in 2008 and has since taken up freelance journalism. She is currently studying for a distant learning degree in geo-political science and lives in Norwich with her partner. More Posts