One of the highlights of Sunday night time became a clearly shocked Tommy Robinson (real call Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) fleeing the count number in Manchester after realising that his desire of becoming an MEP was shattered. He polled simply 2.2%, taking best 39,000 votes in the north west and misplaced his deposit.
While he first announced his candidacy, it regarded unbelievable that the person who had founded the English Defence League may want to grow to be an MEP. But we also knew that he become the quality-regarded a ways-right activist because the second world struggle, and better regarded than maximum of our legislators.
Over 1/2 the British public had heard of him, and while there has been overwhelming opposition to him, five% of society considered him positively. Accordingly, we took his candidature significantly. Non-public polling commissioned by means of wish not Hate of 1,100 voters in the north-west electoral region observed support for Yaxley-Lennon on just 1.Five%, well below the 8.5% he had to stand a threat of winning a seat. However, we have been conscious that this probably underestimated his aid – now not least due to the fact the everyday Yaxley-Lennon supporter turned into probably less likely to be on a YouGov survey panel.
Our polling determined some other three% (adjusted to 4.5%, whilst “don’t is aware of” are excluded) picked him as their 2d desire and, in all, 6% of respondents said that they had been much more likely to vote for him if they notion he had a threat of being elected.
It turned into these figures, combined with a subject over a low turnout, that made us assume he stood a small hazard. The polling, but, additionally gave us the course to defeat him.
From the outset we decided to direct our campaign at turning out the electorate who were most in all likelihood to oppose his anti-immigrant, divisive guidelines. We modelled the north-west location in which he changed into standing on capacity electorate’ attitudes to Yaxley-Lennon and targeted our campaign to the streets wherein those opposed to Yaxley-Lennon had been maximum possibly to live.
In overall we identified about four hundred,000 families where we believed sturdy anti-Yaxley-Lennon voters lived, and again and again engaged with them. We brought over 360,000 leaflets to these homes and subsidized this up with a surprisingly targeted social media marketing campaign. We had distinctive messages going to distinct citizens, depending on what it changed into that we felt could move them maximum.
We additionally did not forget about the white operating-magnificence groups centered with the aid of Yaxley-Lennon. In Wigan, Bury and Oldham, we dispensed localised leaflets to the households that he was concentrated on.
In a whole reversal from our regular campaign approach, we decided from the outset to try and preserve his name out of the nearby media in order now not to present him undue exposure. We turned down request after request for prices and stories, although we were always eager to talk to media ate up by our anti-Yaxley-Lennon electorate.
We had been helped by the shortcomings of Yaxley-Lennon’s very own campaign. He surrounded himself with people with no campaign enjoy – and that confirmed within the first fortnight, in which he prioritised regions with little footfall. He had little concept who his citizens had been, and spent maximum of his time attacking the Labour party, now not information that his core vote had break up with Labour many years in the past.
Alternatively, he became competing with Nigel Farage’s Brexit celebration and Ukip, so it turned into a large personal goal that he did now not make a whole lot of the beyond failure to condemn IRA violence of Claire Fox, the lead Brexit party candidate inside the North West.
Yaxley-Lennon has made lots of his ban on maximum social media systems, claiming that this helped prevent him prevailing. There was a clear disparity between his poularity online and on the ground (doubtlessly even greater so for Ukip’s Carl Benjamin, the misogynistic YouTuber whose donation-driven personal “manufacturers” exist nearly completely on line and whose poisonous candidacy did plenty to torpedo Ukip’s probabilities at those elections). While in reality this deplatforming hampered Yaxley-Lennon’s ability to get the message out, he also knew about these regulations from the outset but did little to think of ways to get around them, largely ignoring neighborhood media. He released his marketing campaign in chaotic fashion on a few grass within the center of a working-magnificence estate in south Manchester.
As it became, the campaign was all about him. He surrounded himself with people like him. His occasions have been attended by using people like him. In the meantime the infamous “milkshakings” he (and others) obtained additionally sparked a viral marketing campaign, with memes spreading like wildfire throughout social media.
It’s miles hardly ever unexpected that Yaxley-Lennon’s vote was distinctly small. There are some who will say that Yaxley-Lennon was and is a distraction from the threat posed by means of Nigel Farage and the Brexit party. Of course, in wider political terms this is correct. However, for the north west, Yaxley-Lennon being elected could have given him a big platform to spread his anti-immigrant poison, and that might have had severe consequences for nearby communities and community tension. Thankfully, the human beings of the north-west vicinity roundly rejected Lennon, and for that we need to all be happy.
Where he heads now we’ll need to see, however it’s not like that “brand Tommy” will disappear just but: in the end, as well as stirring up hate, maximum of his “campaigning” is simply about himself and his lavish life-style, so he desperately needs to hold himself inside the headlines.