One of the things this elections shows is that the media is utterly self obsessed and acts as an echo chamber repeating itself so often that it's convinced it must be right. However, there are three clear examples where what the media was telling us clearly never came to pass.
- The twitter election
Of all the most excitable memes on twitter 'nickcleggsfault' made absolutely zero impact except to convince Lib Dems that they were heading for a record breaking victory that never happened. It was *fun* but it wasn't effective.
To a certain extent the bigger bloggers are either only talking to convinced politicos already - which is a good audience, but it's a hard one to win over. There was also an element of media bubblery about some of the postings too. Recommending to parties to go door knocking was one memorable instance of hilarity.
These blogs are influential in the long term, and I'm a great fan, but there was no viral video or consistent breaking news coming from the social media election that substantially effected the vote.
The fact is that Clegg had taken the Lib Dems into a slump in the polls, because he's not a very good leader, and the last minute bump (which did exist) allowed the Lib Dems to climb back to exactly where they were when they had a proper politician in charge. Those were the days.
Turnout was up and the vote share of the three main parties together slipped down a fractional 1.4%. It was the fringe right that saw the largest boost to their overall vote, despite not winning seats.
Where were the independents though? Hardly any of note stood at all. Esther Rantzen was the only new one who really impinged on people's consciousness and she didn't even get her deposit back. The most successful new entry was John Stevens in Buckingham who got over 20% of the vote but barely anyone outside of the constituency even knew he was standing.
For information he's an ex-Tory MEP who stood against speaker John Bercow and was ably assisted by a man in a dolphin suit who went by the name 'Flipper the dolphin'. Video evidence. Stevens actually did rather well as he was fighting the well funded campaign of UKIP at the same time forcing them to nosedive into third place.
Of the three existing independent MPs who were defending their seats all polled well but lost out. Hospital campaigner Dr Richard Taylor was defeated by the Tories in Kiddeminster, left-winger Dai Davies in Blaenau Gwent was taken down by Labour and right wing Tory splitter Bob Spink lost his seat in Castle Point.