The General Election is over. Here is my first attempt to analyse the results and learn its lessons.
First, Twitter did not determine the election. Votes, not Tweets, matter. The demographic categories, the OAP vote, are not online or using social media. Social media often broadcast messages against austerity. Yet, those who did not suffer as much from austerity were less likely to be on social media.
Second, austerity did not matter to the voters. The voters embraced the Conservatives and accepted their view on the economy. To the extent that austerity is beginning to affect the Tory councils, the proposed spending plans for 2016/17, the government now can begin to increase spending.
Third, the Liberal Democrats served their purpose. They can claim credit for having moderated the Conservatives. Both Labour and Conservatives gained at expense of Liberal Democrats. The electorate did not want another coalition or proportional representation.
Fourth, Farage and Galloway are and always have been sideshows. UKIP as a party is only viable as a single-issue party. Once the promised EU referendum occurs, UKIP will be redundant no matter the result. UKIP is not the threat; it is the Conservative backbench.
Fifth, SNP destroyed Labour and helped the Conservatives. Labour sacrificed itself to save the Union and SNP have punished them for that betrayal. What remains to be seen is whether SNP can blame Westminster enough to win the next independence referendum. The North South split cannot be bridged until SNP mismanage their time in power.
Sixth, Tabloids and broadsheet helped the Conservatives win. Murdoch was able to help the SNP and the Conservatives. The newspapers cannot help them govern. Their influence on the public domain is steadily declining. Social media’s power has shown its voice but it cannot influence specific mass decisions. The question is how to translate social media activity in political action. No one has found a way to translate social media into political outcomes. Locational data and hyperlocal media will become even more important. Here mainstream media in UK needs to catch up and cannot assume that regional media will help fill the void.
Seventh, Murdoch had a role but he cannot claim credit. Does he have relevance or viability? His successor will not influence UK politics as they lack his authority.
Eighth, Twitter revealed that political outrage, rage, hatred turn off voters and do not motive the base. The tweets only show what voters have to fear from such viciousness and vindictiveness.
Ninth, the economy has to improve to deliver election promises. More austerity is not enough to fix what ails the UK. Their slender majority will restrain extreme choices. An improved economy will allow them to emulate Tony Blair’s success.
Tenth, the election results show that Blair was a master politician. He won three elections by connecting to the median voter. The next Labour leader cannot copy him even as they learn from him.