When Theresa May announced this snap general election on April 18, she wanted a Brexit election, one that was going to consolidate and increase her Commons majority ahead of negotiations with the EU.
At that point the smart money was on May achieving her aim of trouncing Labour, sweeping the board and establishing an unassailable Conservative majority.
Not only was this going to be an absolute rout for Labour but their campaign got off to a bad start when Dianne Abbot, shadow Home Secretary, fluffed her figures live on LBC early in May.
About a week later Labour’s manifesto was leaked to the press. This was the most radical manifesto since the 1974 election, promising spending on public services and the renationalization of the railways, water and electricity.
The leaking of this document was designed to put Corbyn and Labour on the back foot and be the final nail in the coffin of their campaign.
In my estimation this was when Labour’s campaign really got going. This generated a great deal of discussion about the manifesto, probably much more so than had there simply been a conventional launch.
Then there is the issue of the debates. We heard it here on Beds TV, when the associate editor of the Daily Mail, Andrew Pearce told one of our student reporters that ‘delivery and presentation’ is not Theresa May’s strong point. And so it has proven to be the case.
And this has damaged her during this campaign and although Corbyn is not trusted or liked in the country his plain speaking, quiet but straightforward delivery has won him plaudits over the past few weeks. He even faced Jeremy Paxman, scourge of many a politician and survived pretty unscathed.
There have been tough moments on the campaign – like for instance when Corbyn was being grilled about why he wouldn’t press the nuclear button, and was rescued by a young member of the audience who wondered why everyone was so keen on, as she said, “murdering millions of people” which succinctly put the point just at the right time for Corbyn, and got a round of applause.
The terrorist attacks have also tested the Labour campaign. It is usual in the political cut and thrust for the Conservatives to play on their image of being tough on law and order and Labour traditionally being seen as weak in this area.
However, the Conservative cuts in Police numbers over the past seven years has seen Theresa May defensive on this issue.
‘For the Many, not the Few’ has been the official Labour slogan. Its unofficial refrain has been ‘Make June the end of May’. Despite the turn around in the fortunes of Labour during this campaign its unlikely that this will happen.
However, this election campaign has given Corbyn an opportunity to demonstrate his leadership skills in a way that hadn’t been obvious before and even if he loses he has absolutely earned the right to lead Labour after this general election.
Theresa May is probably wishing she could say the same about her own prospects, even if she wins tonight.