A year ago today (9th January 2015) we decided to pick a fight with the Prime Minister.
So What Happened?
TLDR; David Cameron didn’t bother with Leaders Live, so we made a bit of a stink for the PM.
After already doing four separate livestream Q&A’s with Natalie Bennet, Nigel Farage, Ed Miliband, and Nick Clegg prior to Christmas we had been assured that Dave was just trying to find time to fit us in. We were ready and waiting, and when news broke that he wasn’t going to bother…. well, we got pissed off to say the least!
Just to make it crystal clear why DC pulling out was so absurd. He basically said that he wouldn’t have one hour spare, at all, for a central London interview within the following 114 days in the lead in to the election ?.
I was tagged in a post on Facebook during the evening of the 8th by Ben who called the next morning to explain the plan – and boy was it a good one! If Cameron won’t get involved then we will state our case through social media using the hashtag #WeWantMore.
Turns out Ben and Harry had a call around 10pm to discuss going public via ITV about DC’s retreat, an Uber to Mike’s (CEO of BTB) house and a night of planning for all eventualities led to the decision to take the fight to social media, starting with a simple tweet.
— Bite The Ballot (@BiteTheBallot) January 9, 2015
Moments after the tweet was sent the office phone rang, and as we guess, it was the Conservative team on the phone to attempt to clarify the situation. Little did they know we had kept a signed letter of support which ended up in the hands on Buzzfeed.
— BuzzFeed UK Politics (@BuzzFeedUKPol) January 9, 2015
— Ben White (@BenWhiteSocial) January 9, 2015
— Steve (@stevencoleuk) January 9, 2015
— BITE (@BiteChannel) January 9, 2015
Throughout Leaders Live we had worked with many new media creators to help engage young people in politics. Perhaps an oversight of Dave as when they heard that he wasn’t interested, they got to work letting their feelings be known.
— Harry Hitchens (@harryhitchens) January 9, 2015
— Jamal Edwards MBE (@jamaledwards) January 9, 2015
— Rebecca Brown (@beckie0) January 9, 2015
— Leena Norms (@leenanorms) January 9, 2015
— Lewis Parker (@LewisParkerUK) January 9, 2015
Shame that Cameron decided not to go through with Leaders Live… He clearly isn’t interested in the youth vote but what’s new? #WeWantMore
— Lucy Moon (@meowitslucy) January 9, 2015
— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) January 9, 2015
— Myles Dyer (@MylesDyer) January 9, 2015
— Darryl Morris (@darrylmorris) January 10, 2015
— Ben Hanlin (@benhanlin) January 9, 2015
and guess what… the public weren’t happy either…
— K.W.D. (@Pirate6665) January 9, 2015
— Craig Smith (@Craig_D_Smith) January 9, 2015
— Real Britain (@realbritainros) January 9, 2015
— John Kennedy (@JohnKennedyJnr) January 9, 2015
— Alex Ramzan (@alex_ramzan) January 9, 2015
and the press got involved too
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 9, 2015
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) January 9, 2015
— TenEighty UK (@TenEightyUK) January 9, 2015
And then later appearing on the news…
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 9, 2015
….and hitting the headlines again today on the 10th January 2015 in The Mirror and The Independent.
So what? He won the election anyway ?
Bite The Ballot as an organisation is party neutral, and to be honest, before working with BTB I had virtually no interest in politics, but you can imagine this spurred me on to wish Mr Cameron and the Conservatives failure at the general election. But in the end, he won anyway.
To me this isn’t about the general election result – or a political point. It’s more about the power of an inspired, engaged, and connected generation. It’s about the collective ability of a new media creator to spread vital messages to their audiences.
This demonstrated the result of the hard work that had been put in by the team to engage younger generations with politics and the impact Leaders Live had already had on the general public.
This demonstrated how my colleague and pal Ben is able to strategise!
The Twitter activity alone on the 9th reached over 2 million people, with the #WeWantMore and #LeadersLive hashtag being used thousands of times and no doubt inspired more young people to take an interest in the goings on in the country.
And if I had the chance to do it again, I totally would.