This was the largest increase in the vote for any major party since Clement Attlee’s victory in 1945.
So it is worth looking at what happened and why. Here are five things we’ve learned:
This was no single issue election
At the beginning, the Tories and much of the media tried to make this election all about Brexit. But we showed that you can’t separate that from bread and butter issues of health, social care and education. Of course Brexit matters. But this election wasn’t about Brexit – it was about Britain.
Don’t take people for granted
Make no mistake, Theresa May called an election to win a landslide. That was the plan and the expectation. The Tory press thought they could press the “security” button and the public would hand her victory on a plate. But the British public are savvy enough to know when they’re being taken for a ride. We offered a message of hope instead.
Being bold can be popular
When the election was called, the Tories had a 24 per cent lead over Labour. That could have led to us losing 97 seats. But then we published our manifesto, “For the many not the few”. Time and again on the doorsteps people told me they liked our policies that challenged the status quo and set out a fully costed way of bringing about a fairer Britain.
Something old, something new
Social media can no longer be called “new media” but, as well as using the tried and trusted method of knocking on people’s doors, we have engaged millions of people online and raised millions of pounds in small donations. And it is undeniably true that the Rupert Murdochs of this world no longer hold the sway over public opinion that they once did. The increasingly frantic front pages of the Tory press showed only that the establishment was getting desperate.
Security matters, but it’s not that simple
The Tories tried to scare people by painting Labour as a threat to national security, but the British public are not stupid. In the wake of the two terrorist attacks that overshadowed much of the campaign, people expressed their anger over Tory cuts to the police and security services. But security is about more than terrorism and threats to the state. It’s also about our economy and global stability, and I think more people understand this than the political and media elite admit to.
To sum up, if you’ve got a political rulebook, tear it up.
We were told political parties were dead. We were told two party politics was dead. We were told big political rallies were a thing of the past.
We were told there was a centre ground consensus that could never be moved.
A new political culture is emerging, and Labour is the party at the head of it.
Jon Trickett is the Labour MP for Hemsworth
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