I received a few comments back on the previous blog post on Jeremy Corbyn and the Grime scene asking more about the 2017 general election. So, I thought I would rewind back and discuss this in a full blog post. And where to begin?

In case you didn’t already know, general elections are held every 5 years in which anyone of voting eligibility can vote. According to Parliaments Act 2011, general elections should be held on the first Thursday in May. The last general election was on the 8thof June 2017 with the next election due to take place in May 2022. But what was significant about this election in particular?

It comes down to the vast use of digital media usage in all aspects of the election that rose significantly from previous years.Political parties nationally spent about £1.3m on Facebook during the 2015 general election campaign; two years later the figure soared to £3.2m.That’s more than double in two years. But why and how did this affect the results? For conservatives, the re-election campaign in 2015 was successful for David Cameron but despite splashing out double on online campaigning, it was less successful for Theresa May. Despite Theresa May becoming Prime Minister, the results were far more inconclusive and even left conservatives to form a coalition with the DUP in order to gain enough seats to win overall. Now this post would be far too long trying to pin point the confusing political system, so below is a short video to explain this if you are stuck:

 

Conservatives and Labour have always been in direct competition with each other, with Conservatives usually being on top. Conservatives have been in power since the coalition government with Liberal Democrats was formed. However, in 2017 Labour voters soared beyond expectations and gave Conservatives a significant run for their money. This is said to be due to a ‘Labour Youth Surge’ in voting. In 2015, voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds was estimated to be 43%, compared with a 66.1% turnout overall.This was largely due to interest in Jeremy Corbyn – you can read more about Jeremy Corbyn and UK Youth Culture in the previous blog here- but it was also due to a variety of digital media platforms making political involvement desirable

.Studies of digital campaigning have revealed substantial change in the nature of political campaigns. Tracing the rise of email, party websites, social media, online videos and gamification, scholars have shown how, since the 1990s, parties have become heavily dependent on digital technology (Gibson, 2015).

However, digital media still can’t replace the effect physical participation has on political campaigns. an example of this is attending rallies, protesting and leafletting. All of which I have previously taken part in. In my opionion technology has positively effected the means of campaigning and participating in political movements however, it just can’t replce these physical attributes. It says a lot more to stand up in person for what you believe in and come face to face with people who may oppose your views. Behind a screen you can protect your identity and strategically plan out what you wish to put out to people. This is perhaps a positive for those who do not feel confident enough to do this in person but I believe the feeling you get by making a public stance in person. is unbeatable. Below are some photographs I took at a Jeremy Corbyn rally in Reading, 2017 just before the general election.

own images, no attribution needed

own image, no attribution needed

own image, no attribution needed

However, even non digital forms of campaigning are effected by digital media. This particular rally was broadcast on TV and Streaming platforms such as YouTube and the sign in the above pictures was broadcast on Sky News. Before digital media, these signs would’ve only been seen by those at the rally but it reached a significantly higher amount of people.

no attribution required

In summary, digital media could have effected the general election both negatively and positively according to how you wanted the outcome of the general election to be. For Labour this worked in their favour, as the youth surge in labour voters was arguably from social media. However it is clear that there are still a range of physical campaigning techniques used. I believe that a combination of all techniques will positively effect campaigning as a whole as digital media makes it more accessible for all types of people to get involved. I don’t know about you but this is something I will always promote and I think it is excellent that people are getting involved and care about politics more than ever before.