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UK’s Labour Party wins the Communications Stakes, even if they lost the Election

For many in the UK, the prospect of the Labour Party, under its veteran hard-left leader Jeremy Corbyn, doing well in the 8 June election when it was announced eight weeks ago seemed distant and unlikely. Yet, when the results came in, Labour has increased its parliamentary size by 30 seats, closing the gap on the Conservative government, led by Theresa May, which had been expected to win by a majority of 130 seats, but in the event saw its majority decline to only 8 or so when the results were announced. So how did Labour do so well and the Conservatives so badly? The headlines will tell you that Labour engaged in a more positive campaign, made promises that weren’t costed, but appealed to an austerity fatigued public, and that the Conservatives made a couple of catastrophic errors to judgement in how they announcement certain policies and handled the way they presented themselves and their leader. Whilst this is true, what the headlines won’t tell you is that Labour employed a very clever and ‘under the radar’ communications strategy during the campaign, appealing directly to the public, leveraging old-fashion campaigning ‘on the stump’ by its leader to large crowds, and building up profile and credibility. That said, many of its spokespeople performed badly when interviewed, but its ability to portray a positive campaign, handle direct communications with its public and have an ‘alternative’ message proved to be very effective. Okay, they didn’t win the election, but they showed the other parties what it takes to be on top of your game when it comes to communications and messaging.