Wednesday, October 20, 2010

George Osborne vs Gordon Brown

This is an excellent bit of geekiness, courtesy of one Nick Barber who emailed His Grace earlier with this incontrovertible evidence that Mr Barber probably leads a very lonely life indeed. He has pored through George Osborne's CSR speech today and compared it with Gordon Brown's budget speech of 1997.

Although quite a tedious exercise for Mr Barber (who, presumably, derived a degree of pleasure from the pursuit quite lost on His Grace), this fiscal verbiage highlights a few interesting facts.

Below illustrates the relative frequencies of words used by George Osborne:

And this illustrates those majored on by Gordon Brown in 1997:

Mr Barber observes:

* George Osborne shoehorned in the word “Billion” as often as possible – hammering home the size of the task. Gordon used this word much more cautiously.

* While Gordon Brown in 1997 talked of “Government Investment”, George Osborne has been characterising it as “Government Spending”.

* Gordon Brown used more optimistic language with “next”, “new”, “first”, “opportunity”, and “future” being some of his most popular phrases.

* Gordon talked a lot more about “tax”. In his 1997 he introduced his windfall tax, while at the same time talking of tax relief in other areas. Osborne has focussed on the other side of fiscal policy…”spending”.

* “Employment” was one of Gordon Brown’s most popular words…George Osborne mentioned it only once - in the phrase "Employment and Support Allowance".

Mr Barber informs us that he is still trying to spot trends, and asks that you might let him know if you spot any.

If, on the other hand, you have a life, His Grace exhorts you to pray for Mr Barber, who appears to need something a little more significant in his life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness neither of them made much use of the current buzzword 'progressive'

20 October 2010 at 20:39  
Anonymous Gerard Tibercross said...

Your Grace

Mr Barber may be a bit nerdy, but nothing like as nerdy as the geek who wrote the application he fed the speeches into to produce those graphics. And let us not forget that St Paul told us that the message of Jesus Christ is for all, free men and slaves, men and women, jews and geeks.

Gerard Tibercross

20 October 2010 at 20:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This from somone who is running a campaign to get Cliff as No1 for Christmas.

Get a life indeed.

20 October 2010 at 21:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

You have posted the .jpg files rather than links to the original files. This makes me wonder whether you are fully aware of actually how un-geeky and easy it is to produce a wordle ( of a body of speech. Whilst writing this I wondered what a comparison of the most recent speeches of the current Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury might lead to.

20 October 2010 at 21:30  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

'... His Grace exhorts you to pray for Mr Barber, who appears to need something a little more significant in his life.'

That was uncharacteristically mean-spirited of you, Cranny.

20 October 2010 at 21:31  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I rather think prayers should be reserved for Boy Geoge, Your Grace. Him and his pal, iDave, are baiting mouse traps and plugging small holes whilst completely failing to produce the big guns necessary for culling the elephants crowding the room.

As for Mr. Barber's word grinder, he demonstrates that, though the style might differ, the language of politics is still the same - classic BS.

21 October 2010 at 07:12  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

It matters very little as to which words were used by Brown, or how frequently. All of them meant whatever Brown chose them to mean at any one time. Often they were used in precisely the opposite sense of their dictionary definitions. Take 'investment' as but one example. Were we ever likely to see any form of return on Brown's astounding largesse - with our cash?

21 October 2010 at 21:47  
Blogger Mike A said...

In comparing a CSR speech with a budget speech, are not the most-used words likely to differ because of the different content?

22 October 2010 at 16:37  

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