Hear what four campaign insiders make of the #GE2015 campaign?

Ulster University’s Institute for Research in Social Sciences and Slugger O’Toole brought together back room staff from five four of the main five parties at lunchtime in Belfast for an Ask the Campaign Insiders event to discuss the recent General Election campaign.

The conversation and questions covered being off message and the difficulty of holding your intended narrative (sometimes “like chasing a balloon down the street”); hustings and leaders’ debates; the eventual obsession with the ramifications of a hung parliament; pacts; polling; A/B testing of new canvassing techniques; the value of social media for enthusing your core and getting key messages out quickly; and the electoral performance of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (who was described as “the eternal Lord Mayor” and a “God of networking” as well as some less positive reviews of his political potential in Belfast South.

  • Sharon Robinson

    It’s really just five people towing the party line without anything new being established. The chair was poor too, he stuttered and didn’t seem to have the correct information to hand. Overall a rather poor and bland discussion.

  • mickfealty

    Isn’t your enjoyment value enough John..

  • tmitch57

    Those who fight the Taliban in Afghanistan are eligible for the Medal of Honor (no u in spelling–its an American medal).

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Lee’s point about them getting feed back at the doors in South Belfast about people not being happy that they were also not included in the Unionist Election Pact which possibly cost them a few percentage in votes is interesting. Looks as if this is correct DUP dropped from 24.3% in 2011 Assembly Elections to 22.2% in 2015 Westminster Elections. I have applied the 2.1% difference and added it to the 2015 result.
    Alasdair McDonnell SDLP 9,560
    Jonathan Bell DUP 9,466
    Looks like it would not have effected the end result but if an agreement had have been made to run Joanne Dobson as the agreed Unionist candidate in South Belfast I don’t think we would be talking about a party leader contest now within the SDLP it would be an Obituary !

  • It’s normal in most industries for people doing similar jobs to get together and discuss their success and failures. It doesn’t often happen in politics. So in terms of professional development – ie, learning how other people fought fires when stuff went awry – there’s a great value.

    It’s also a chance for them to correct – or spin! – what was going on at key moments that they feel were misrepresented in the campaign. Hopefully it’s cathartic for them; it’s certainly useful for those in the audience to muse upon and apply the insight to future events involving the same parties or same issues.

  • Granni Trixie

    How rude! You wouldn’t have an axe to grind, would you?

  • Granni Trixie

    Any reason everybody is a man! Or is it that Slugger asked parties for reps and this panel is what they came up with ( not meaning to blame the individuals just highlight the system).

  • Granni Trixie

    I agree Alan and after an election activists as well as political professionals are still processing the campaign experience – trying to make sense of it. Organising the panel helps with this and was a good idea .

  • tmitch57

    I figured that was what you meant, but by playing obtuse I’m trying to force people to actually write what they mean instead of leaving us to guess their meaning.

  • Sharon Robinson

    Nope, you aren’t defending someone are you?

  • Granni Trixie

    I was merely alerting you to the fact that there are ways of saying what you mean in a mannerly way which doesn’t seem to be your way.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    Yes, that was the first question that occurred to me also!

  • Sharon Robinson

    Coming from the girl who goes around calling people “Prods”. I see your agenda very clearly Ms and it’s ugly.

  • Granni Trixie

    I sound v exciting. Many thanks.

  • mickfealty

    Has anyone anything to say about what actually is said in Debate? I think I know what you mean Sharon, but there’s some very good stuff in there.

    John Moore is very interesting on how they use their private polling (backed by Martin and Lee), for just one aspect. (about 1/2 hour in)