When Theresa May called a snap general election, the first thing I did was call my dad, Alastair Campbell, to tell him how smart and strategic a move I thought it was. I believed that the Labour party would face catastrophe. That voters in Labour strongholds across the north of England would crave her policies on immigration, fear Jeremy Corbyn’s historical links to the IRA, and clamour for the modern-day iron lady. Theresa May clearly felt the same, kicking off her campaign in Hartlepool with a smile that suggested a belief that the election was over before it had even started.
What this campaign has shown is just how out of touch I was. Britain is a country that is desperate for change. People in Brexit strongholds, such as Burnley – the home of my football club and where I have close friends – voted for Brexit in unprecedented numbers.
I believed at the time – and still do to some extent – that the Brexit vote was about national pride, cultural identity and “taking back control”. But I have been humbled to find that there is something far deeper taking place. People feel neglected, let down and desperate to find a leader and party that represents them.
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