THE LABOUR PARTY MANIFESTO: A FUTURE WITHOUT INNOVATION

As a quick analysis of the Labour Party’s election Manifesto published today, I’ve generated a word cloud from the text of the Manifesto using Wordle. The cloud gives greater prominence to words that appear most frequently. For those who are interested, I have set this at a cut-off point of 500 words and arranged the results in alphabetical order (from left to right). This is a crude representation of the content of the Manifesto. But it says a great deal.

The Manifesto is approximately 30,000 words.

  • The term ‘innovation’ appears 11 times throughout;
  • ‘Research and Development’ appears once (under the section on Investing in science and research, Section 1 on Growth);
  • ‘Productivity’ appears 3 times – once coupled with ‘innovation’ but only in reference to the effect of ‘stronger employee engagement’ (whatever that may mean);
  • ‘Recession’ appears 12 times (mostly descriptive, with eight references to the current situation);
  • All the above terms thus do not even appear in this cloud (which as stated above has a cut off point of 500 words).

The words a that stand out, particularly ‘new’, ‘people’, ‘work’, ‘care’, ‘britain’ express the vacuous character of the Manifesto and the absence of real content. The crude emphasis upon ‘new’ is a sure sign of the absence of anything new.

I intend doing a similar analysis of all the other Party Manifestos as they are published this week. Once they are all done, I will write a more substantial piece on the content of what they are saying with respect to the recession, innovation and the future of economic growth. This is being done in relation to Big Potatoes: the London Manifesto for Innovation and will be presented as part of my speech at the ‘Innovation, R&D and the General Election’ public meeting at the Royal Society on the evening of 27 April 2010.

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