This year’s Election Manifestos at a glance #ge2017

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Back in 2015 (which feels like no time at all) I created some word clouds of the party manifestos. I’ve done the same again. At the time of writing the Green Party had not yet launched their manifesto – I will update this post when they do. I will not share the UKIP one this time around – their time is done as far as I’m concerned!

I was very struck by the lack of the word ‘Brexit’ in all 3 manifestos given that one of the main reasons Theresa May gave for calling the election was her negotiating position over Brexit. You can see the EU is mentioned but perhaps not as much as you would expect. This is a very crude way of looking at the manifestos but is quite an interesting exercise – I spotted some words in the Conservative manifesto that you might expect to see more in a Labour one and vice versa! It’s also quite telling that only the LibDems used the word ‘spending’.

In my 2015 article I shared some useful tools for choosing who to vote for, this time I will share another that seems particularly useful in the light of our new ‘post-truth’ world!

https://fullfact.org/ – this site fact-checks everything – you can find each of the parties’ manifestos fully fact-checked here. Hopefully this will help you navigate through the claims and counterclaims.

Whatever you do this June, make sure you do use your vote!

 

 

So hereĀ are the manifestos represented as word clouds – the larger words are the most commonly used words.

Labour

Labour Manifesto 2017

ConservativesConservative Manifesto 2017

Liberal Democrats

Libdem manifesto 2017

 

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A quintessentially British ‘social media’ election

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Many people have been describing the UK’s general election this year as the first ‘social media’ election. I don’t think it’s quite been the same revolution in politics as was referred to about Obama’s campaign in 2008 but it has done a few things:

1. The use of social networking has boosted & driven our conversations and news about the campaign

A while ago I saw this funny picture making fun of Second Life (the virtual online world):

Get a first life spoofOne of the things I find often difficult to explain to people who don’t ‘get’ social media is that one of the best things about it is that it enhances your interactions in the ‘real world’. For example, I am a fan of a local community theatre on Facebook – I’ve been to see far more plays in the last 6 months because of the updates I get from that than I ever have before. During this election campaign, activity on social networks has produced excellent news stories and spilled over into face to face conversations with my friends – that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

2. It’s been brilliant for satire and spoofs

Lots of fun gadgets have been created which make it easier than ever to spoof election posters and different political figures. My favourite and probably the pioneering site for this campaign was http://mydavidcameron.com with one of the best posters being:

3. Twitter & Facebook enhanced the TV debates

Watching the TV debates (the first of their kind) was great fun if you watched the comments on Twitter, Facebook & the TV channel websites alongside it. It was like watching TV with thousands of other people. Instantaneous reactions appeared, witty comments and the TV companies had quick vote buttons on their websites where you could see instant approval ratings. The TV debates were arguably the defining moment of this campaign but their impact would have been far lower had people not been going online in their droves to express their views.

This screen capture was taken during the BBC debate and made the front page of a number of newspapers the following day (this spread like wildfire on Twitter during the debate):

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I don’t think that social media has been effectively used by candidates for campaigning in the way that Obama’s team used it. What social media has enabled during this campaign, however, is:

  • instantaneous responses from the electorate (witness ‘bigotgate’)
  • feeding of the news and then enabling news stories to be shared more widely than ever
  • brilliantly creative satire – and not just from the ‘usual suspects’ but from the ordinary voter

I think some of this shows how quintessentially British our use of social media has been in this campaign. Unlike in America, where it was used to campaign, here, in Blighty, we’ve used it largely for making jokes!

What the impact on the ballot box will be remains to be seen…