On Saturday 11th April, 1992 the notorious headline ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’ ran in said newspaper, trumpeting its role in an unexpected Conservative General Election victory.

Friday 9th June, 2017 saw another unexpected General Election result; a Conservative victory, but only just. If ever a win could be construed as a loss, this is it. We have lived through a political case study, from the ‘how not to’ series – a debatable decision to call a ballot in the first place, the arrogant assumption of a glorious landslide, dismal campaigning throughout in form and content, squandering a double-digit lead in the opinion polls, a Prime Minister whose golf ball hit a tree and came to rest behind her.

As was the case 25 years ago (despite The Sun’s claim) no single factor made the difference but, for me, there has been an overarching theme this time. Among two reluctant leaders, one, Jeremy Corbyn, resolved to face his demons and grant us access to his inner being while the other, Theresa May, tormentor of cereal farmers, dived under the duvet.

None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. And the relentless media exposure inflicted upon our politicians leads inevitably to regular, unsightly revelations of human frailty. But we navigate around, empathise with, and even forgive each other’s shortcomings when we are able to establish the rapport upon which our preferred accommodation can be based.

Clearly, for a party boss to connect meaningfully with individual voters is a tough ask but, in truth, that’s what Corbyn achieved, particularly with two important cohorts (young people and Remainers) who needed an arm around the shoulder rather than a lecture on strength and stability from someone who appeared to be on the run from the TV cameras.

The PM, through personal misjudgement and/or the flawed influence of others, made some fatal errors, none greater than forcing us to infer her true self from performances in which she appeared programmed rather than briefed, but mostly from absence and evasion.

As Katie Perrior wrote in The Times; “If you run a presidential style campaign with a woman who doesn’t like media interviews, then you have to accept that it’s better to do them and run the risk that they go badly than look like you are running scared”.

Being seen as timid is one thing. Theresa May’s remoteness also allowed us to believe that she was complacent (not bothering to participate in her own election), self-serving (cue Brenda of Bristol, on hearing that a General Election had been called: “Oh no, what has she done that for?” Was Mrs May actually motivated by political and personal gain?) and, frankly, a bit robotic. On this last point, I cannot improve on, in my view, the quote of the election from Rod Liddle in The Spectator: “Theresa May has the personal warmth, wit, oratorical ability and attractiveness of an Indesit fridge-freezer…”

Now, I don’t happen to think that she can be as bad as that, despite her inappropriately private visit last week to the scene of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. She has clearly overdosed on terrible advice. In recognising this, Katie Perrior suggests: “Mrs May…needs people with charm and diplomacy to get her through the next few weeks and months”.

But that’s not the point. This was a very public, high-stakes campaign with candidates largely unknown outside their cabinets and constituencies.  And, as Gary Younge observed in The Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn “has proved a far better campaigner than he has a leader”.

Given the UK’s enormous challenges, we needed to get to know Theresa May. This proved impossible. Worse still, as 8th June drew closer, we didn’t really like what little we saw of her.

What’s the crashing irony? Where Jeremy Corbyn succeeded was with the basics, well within Theresa May’s reach you would imagine, because that’s what this election, foisted upon a weary nation, required.

In short, the Labour leader showed up, clearly articulated the headlines of an inclusive manifesto, displayed humanity and humility, persuaded people that he cared about them and dared them to hope that he might actually help them. To quote the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell: “We tried to have an extremely positive campaign. We modelled it around Jeremy’s character.”

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn did not win the General Election but he made extraordinary progress because he adopted relationship behaviour, one of the main pillars of trust and a magnet for votes.