Everyone was excited about the 2015 UK General Election long before it was held. Political parties started their election campaigns more than two years ago, preparing themselves for a big battle. The style of the campaigns could be roughly described as quite similar, with political parties barking at each other in the beginning, then starting to bite in the midst of the campaign and finally tearing off meat of their rivals at the end. Sometimes I’m thinking to myself that the term ‘black PR’ must have been invented by a politician. We know politics is a dirty game which, however, is not always won by the dirtiest player; or at least by the one who plays the dirtiest.
But let’s elaborate a little bit on the tactics of the different political parties and their leaders and try to figure out why they achieved what they achieved. It’s been a shock for a lot of people that the Conservative party won the General Elections for the second time in a row, especially after the contradictory results from the European Parliament Election in 2014. So what did the Conservatives do to win so many voters on their side? On a first place, theirs was the least aggressive campaign of all. People don’t want to see politicians throwing stones at each other; they want to hear reasonable solutions to their problems, they want better living standard, higher salaries, better health system, lower levels of crime, better protection etc.
In my opinion, the Conservative party started building slowly an army of supporters, very long time ago. They won the people by handling well issues of historic significance such as the Scottish Independence referendum last year. And they are planning another one in 2017- an in/out EU referendum. Many people have expressed an opinion that Britain is losing more than it’s getting from its EU membership. Moreover, British citizens have never felt as part of Europe anyway, so a lot of them are not seeing a reason in staying in the union. And the Tories used this big debate, going on in the country for a long time, in their favour.
As opposed to their biggest opponent, the Labourists failed to recognise what their electorate wanted. In a recent interview for BBC, Ed Miliband’s brother, David has criticised Ed’s leadership, saying voters “did not want what was being offered”. A lot of the criticism also goes towards the fact Ed Miliband was not the most appropriate face of the Labour Party and the campaign itself, as his message to the voters was showing that he was desperate to win. Moreover, the aggressiveness some of the Labour voters have shown, such as “Let’s Kick Cameron Out” messages on Twitter, didn’t help either. In actual fact, the Labourists’ aggressiveness could have become a motivational factor for the Conservatives’ electorate to go and vote.
As for the other parties, it is no surprise SNP became the third political party, winning 56 seats contrasted to just 6 in the previous Parliament. The question of the Scottish independence is live yet, meaning Scottish nationals, especially the ones supporting the independence, will never vote for an English party. As for UKIP, it is a party that gained popularity in the blink of an eye but lost it just as quick. Its hypocritical values and the behaviour of its leader were punished by the voters as a result of which UKIP will probably be completely shoved off the British political scene in the coming years. This is the party that was relying on black PR the most, but as we can all see, it didn’t do it any good.
For a liberal country like Britain, it is quite an occasion that a conservative party will continue to rule it for another five years. I don’t know if this is a good decision for the country, but it is a fact that the Tories know how to play the game. They judged their target audience in a very good way, recognised what it wants, and just offered it. In a world torn by wars, economic and political crises, religious conflicts etc. it is very important to show the people you can handle the situation and maintain the balance. The Conservative Party managed to convince the people it can. But can it really?