What are the lessons from the #ae11 and #lg11 campaigns?

The (first) day of the count is a slow news day as it takes a few hours for verification to confirm the turnout and set the quotas for the subsequent STV counts. And while parties will be busy tallying this morning to get early indications of what the eventual first preference results will be, there ratio of speculation to hard fact will remain high until lunchtime at the earliest.

In the meantime, it might be useful to look at some of the lessons from the campaign(s) that finished yesterday at the close of the poll.

I’ve some suggestions, but would love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Grafitti in East Belfast - If voting could change anything it would be illegalThe campaign was too long. Any velocity that was building up in the early weeks was winded by the long Easter/wedding break and the momentum and public interest waned.

Manifestos are getting longer not shorter. Manifesto readership is probably decreasing?

Was there not a lot more electioneering than engagement with the electorate?

We learnt that NI leaders’ debates don’t grab viewers’ attention. And with party leaders appearing on Talkback, Hearts and Minds, a series of subject-led debates on the Nolan show and UTV Live, do be conclude that the viewing/listening public had more politics on offer than they could consume?

There were hustings galore – constituency, special interest groups (women, arts, economy, etc) – but were many of them not a complete waste of time for the candidates who attended? Crudely, isn’t an election campaign about maximising the new votes achieved per hour … and not all hustings give a good return on investment.

This was not an e-election if the number of forests cut down and posted through my letterbox are an indication of how parties believe they can best engage with the public. With two registered voters in a house we’ve collected

Lagan Valley

  • DUP – 1 letter, 6 leaflets, 2 postcards
  • UUP – 5 leaflets
  • Alliance – 3 leaflets
  • Green – 3 leaflets
  • SDLP – 2 leaflets
  • TUV – 1 leaflet
  • and a No2AV leaflet.

Belfast East

  • UUP – 5 leaflets and a postcard
  • DUP – 4 leaflets
  • Green – 4 leaflets
  • Alliance – 3 leaflets and one natty letter
  • Dawn Purvis – 2 leaflets
  • 1 leaflet apiece from BNP, PUP, Socialist Party, TUV, Workers Party
  • a couple of different No2AV leaflets.

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