I have been involved in politics, in various ways, for a relatively long while, almost half my life in fact, and it has always interested me.
I began studying it aged 16 and continued at University. My first job upon graduating was interning for an MP in Parliament. I’ve stood for election. I’ve reported on a general election.
It turns out, I do not have a clue what I’m talking about.
Predicting politics is now a fool’s errand
A little over a week ago I declared that, despite narrowing polls, Theresa May and her Conservative party would still win. I was right only if you make the word “win” work to its absolute limit.
I warned against chasing the polls, after a bruising experience in 2015. The polls were basically right. They showed the surge in support for the Labour Party that came to pass on Thursday.
I previously said May’s ability to change her mind was an advantage. I thought it showed a flexibility people would respect. Rubbish. It transpires people saw her as vacillating and untrustworthy, not a good place to be in politics. This is especially true if you’ve staked your whole reputation on being a “safe pair of hands”.
The media rightly highlighted a variety of issues with Jeremy Corbyn. Some should have disqualified him from leading a party into a general election. However, in the post-truth era, being attacked by the media has become a badge of honour, not a hindrance.
Brexit and Trump broke the rules of politics, and that trend is continuing. A hard-left Labour Party now appears to have got young people to vote and hit 40% in an election. The Prime Minister, untouchable just six weeks ago, is on the brink.
Without a doubt, the campaign period changed things dramatically. So perhaps, after all, a fundamental truth in politics does remain: you campaign in poetry and govern prose.
Or maybe I’m wrong again…
My first book "Not Buying It", looking at post-truth in media and politics, is being published by Unbound
If you enjoy this blog please pledge here, to help make it happen and order your copy.