Election A to Z — M is for Manifesto

Election

Today we’re going to save you the trouble of reading the party manifestos, by presenting you with the front covers and a word cloud summarising the contents. We’re sure you can draw your own conclusions from these.1

Tory

Tory manifesto

This is the front cover of the Tory manifesto, which you can download here. What can we deduce from this? The Tories are a team, and that team includes lots of women and at least one minority face.

You don’t recognise most of the team, apart from Cameron and May, though perhaps after five years as Chancellor, we can spot Osborne from the side of his head.

Also, running the country is no laughing matter, although the merest hint of a smile is starting across Cameron’s face, presumably in recognition that the economic recovery is finally taking hold.

Ther’s a bit of text too: strong leadership, clear plan, brighter future. Happy days are here again, if only we can stay the course.

Tory manifesto word cloud

And here is the word cloud: more, new, people, continue, ensure, support, tax, all. Make what you will of that. There’ll be more for all if we continue.

Labour

Labour manifesto

Here is the cover of the Labour manifesto, which you can download here. I really don’t like this one, it looks like a Soviet or Mao-era Chinese communist poster, something reporting progress on the five-year-plan. Still, with Milliband and Balls fronting their campaign, it was probably wise to steer clear of the head shots.

It’s also a lot easier to take issue with words than with image. The first sentence depends entirely on your definitions of working people and success. Labour policies seem largely aimed at the non-working and at those in heavily unionised and subsidised public sector employment. I’m not sure many in small business would agree with them,

The second sentence is also subjective (“better”) and includes a contradiction – how do you both reward hard work and then share the prosperity it brings with someone else?

Labour manifesto word cloud

Here’s the Labour word cloud: people, need, support, more, government, public, services. No need to read between the lines here.

Liberal Democrats

Liberal democrat manifesto

This is the cover of the Liberal Democrats manifesto, which you can download here. Another one that doesn’t use a picture of the leader, presumably because they’d like people to forget that Clegg is still in charge.

This one seems to be suggesting that a lot of jigsaw pieces need to fit together to make a successful country, and a rainbow alliance of pieces, too – it’s surprising that so many of the other parties colours are in there (albeit, pastel, watered down versions). Or perhaps it’s a signal that they are prepared to enter a coalition with anyone, so long as they moderate their views a bit under the Lib Dem influence.

Looking at the text:

  • good for children and parents
  • prosperity for all (but “fairly”, so obviously those of us in the top half won’t do well)
  • tax cuts for people on less than £12.5K
  • protect the environment (desperately fighting the greens for the hippy / student vote)
  • health care, particularly for the mentally ill (not a massive constituency I wouldn’t have thought, but they have presumably done the market research)
See also:  Election A to Z --- N is for Non-Dom

It’s terribly weak and wet to my taste, but not particularly weaselly. I am not their target voter, being childless, and on more than £12.5K.2

Liberal manifesto word cloud

Here’s the word cloud: ensure, all, people, support, more, local, public, work. A consistent message, but not for me.

UKIP

UKIP manifesto

Here is the cover of the UKIP manifesto, which you can download here. And is the third of four without a picture of the leader on the cover. Considering the relative popularity of Nigel Farage to the others, that’s a real surprise, but perhaps they don’t want to be seen as a one man band.

They have the next best thing, though, a quote from Nigel. Admittedly, it’s so faint that it’s difficult to read, so let’s start with the headline – believe in britain. Fair enough, I do, or at least my bit of it – not so sure about the fringes.

The quote covers independence, border controls, social mobility and patriotism, and rails against the political classes. I can go for all that.

UKIP manifesto word cloud

Here’s the word cloud. This is probably the least clear so far. Apart from Britain and British and EU, lots of things seem to have been given equal weight. Maybe this is a good thing.

At a stretch we can get: all, British, people, care, more. And perhaps they do.

Green party

Green party manifesto

This is the cover of the Green Party manifesto, which you can download here. We’re back to pictures, although this one is a bit of a dog’s dinner. The party has sensibly avoided illustrating its joint leadership, who like me have a good look for radio.

What we have instead takes in money, hospitals, trains, office work, houses and industrial scale solar panel installation. I have no idea what to make of all that. But it’s for the common good, whatever that is.

I suspect that it’s the opposite of being for my personal good.3

Green party manifesto word cloud

Here’s the word cloud: all, people, more, good, local, good, common, public, tax. And lots of other things. That’s probably as much as we need to know.

SNP

SNP manifesto

Here is the cover of the SNP manifesto, which you can download here. We’re back to pictures of the leader (only our second out of six), but this time alone against a meaningless background. This is the most presidential of the lot, and from someone who is not even standing as an MP in the election. It’s amazing to think how much airtime has been given in England to what is essentially a foreign leader.

I’m afraid I find this one a little scary. Sturgeon strikes me as a cross between the “message from God” zeal of Tony Blair and the “mother knows best” shtick of Angela Merkel. There’s a real whiff of Big Sister, the Borg from Star Trek and even “tomorrow belongs to me”. Ugh.

SNP manifesto word cloud

Here’s the word cloud: Scotland, Scottish, Scotland’s. What did we expect? Also: more, UK, people, government, Westminster. You know what will happen.

Conclusions

In a nutshell:

[space]

  • Tories – stick with us for the good times
  • Labour – we’ll spend your money on public services
  • Lib Dem – we’ll work with anyone if they tone things down a bit
  • UKIP – believe in Britain and we’ll keep them out
  • Greens – it’s for your own good
  • SNP – prepare to be assimilated

To see more of our election coverage, please go to our Election A to Z page.

See also:  Election A to Z --- T is for Tory

Until next time.

  1. We have included the SNP because of extent to which they influence the debate during the election campaign, and the risk that they will influence the composition of the government. The Irish and Welsh parties have been excluded for similar regions. []
  2. And not a mentally ill hippy student, to go from their manifesto cover []
  3. Something along the lines of the headmaster hitting me with a leather strap and telling me its for my own good, when it’s clearly more fun for him []

Mike Rawson

Mike is the owner of 7 Circles, and a private investor living in London. He has been managing his own money for 35 years, with some success.

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Election A to Z — M is for Manifesto

by Mike Rawson time to read: 4 min
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