How to lose your majority
The pundits will no doubt be chewing over the gristle of the election results for some time now. Those column inches don't fill themselves on their own, but frankly most of what we read and hear will simply be white noise. As I write this piece, the Beeb has reported that Theresa May has now returned from her meeting with our Queen, and is forming a Government which will involve the DUP.
I am sure that none of this is what Mrs May and her cabinet had planned ahead for, and from the perspective of this member of the electorate at least, little of it seems ideal from almost any perspective. So, how does one go about losing a slender majority in such an apparently convincing manner? Whilst I am not entirely positive that I'll be able to sidestep a few political minefields on the way, I thought of the following practical conclusions:
(1) You lose by not keeping in touch
Over the period from announcement to polling day, my wife and I received some sort of communication every week from both Labour and the LibDems. Sometimes, it seemed as if the pseudo-personalised appeals and leaflets were coming every other day. Over the same period, we received precisely one communication from the Conservatives, a rather anonymous leaflet which arrived a day or so before the election. OK, a great deal of this literature was of a somewhat dubious quality, but you couldn't help but draw the conclusion that the Conservatives simply did not care enough in this particular battle.
(2) You lose by not having a clear proposition
The runup to the election was prompted by ambiguities and flip-flops on the content of the Tory proposition. Labour may have made promises that will require Magic Money to fund them, but they knew precisely which part of the electorate they wished to mobilise and went out of their way to bribe them. By comparison, the Tory manifesto just seemed to lack substance - the election was supposed to be all about Brexit, but in the end it barely got a mention.
(3) You lose by not using effective tools
In the weeks running up to polling day, FaceBook had morphed into a kind of unrelenting wall of Labour and LibDem memes, most of which appeared to be mounting personal attacks on Theresa May. Whether they had anything valid to say is one question, but the sure fact of the matter was that the Tory voice appears to have been almost completely silent. Social media may well be a tool in the process of dumbing-down the whole nature of political discourse, but the Conservatives appear to have had no weapon available to counteract the miasma of censure and opprobrium thrown up by leftwing strategists.
In the event, the BBC's exit polls were unusually accurate. As someone who is deeply sceptical of the whole business of attempting to forecast results, one must give credit where it is due. Irrespective of where IFAs may sit on the political spectrum, there are important lessons for us here: (1) keep in touch with your own voters (clients); (2) be as clear as possible when you articulate your advisory proposition; (3) use effective tools to deliver the results you desire.