Sadly, we don’t get to see Dr. Farnsworth’s research this time

Something bigger is happening here than the usual Punch v Judy. Kevin Farnsworth, a social scientist at the University of York, has put the manifestos for the two main parties from every election since 1945 through a cutting-edge piece of software – then asked it to assess how alike they were in concepts and phrases. The result? The Conservative manifesto is closer to Labour’s than at any point since the second world war.

Rhetoric as a guide to policy. Yep, good on that. Sadly, I can’t see the research itself. Which is a pity really. As it was Farnsworth who told us that depreciation allowances were a subsidy to corporations, recall?

Interestingly, something also flagged up by Chakrabortty. Are these two getting it on or something?

11 comments on “Sadly, we don’t get to see Dr. Farnsworth’s research this time

  1. Farnsworth is the International Political Economy divot from Sheffield Uni who pulled the £93bn ‘corporate welfare subsidy’ number out of his anus.

  2. And it was Richard Murphy who entirely agreed with him and insisted that other ‘tax subsidies’ should be abolished because they aren’t needed and don’t encourage any investment. And the same Richard Murphy who now condemns plans to lower CT rates because that will reduce the impact of tax reliefs and credits that do so much to encourage investment and…

    Wankers all

  3. I don’t need to see the research to tell you this is flawed. Text analysis software is a tool. It’s a good quick way to tell you things. Particularly things like “this essay seems to be similar to this other essay”. But you then have to go and stick a human in front of both of them.

  4. a cutting-edge piece of software

    Golly (Is one allowed to say that?)! I’m impressed!

  5. No, the textual analysis is correct. These days, both parties’ manifestos are written in the same style by Oxford-PPE metropolitan elites. In the past, at least the Labour manifesto would have been written by someone from the northern working class: it would have been couched in the language of trade unionism, of us-vs-them, of the boss not paying enough respect to the little guy. Today the major parties are just carrying on their inconsequential student debates from the Oxford Union: the real concerns of the rest of society aren’t deemed worthy of debate.

  6. I wonder what it would make of :

    “In light of changes in demographics and modern thought, we have decided that poor children should be transported to seaside camps in the upcoming school holidays”

    and

    “In light of changes in demographics and modern thought, we have decided that poor children should be transported to extermination camps in the upcoming school holidays”

    Computers are baaaad at understanding.

  7. @Paul

    rotflmao

    @Mr Ecks version:

    “In light of changes in demographics and modern thought, we have decided that muslim children & parents should be transported to MENA camps in the upcoming school holidays”

    +1

  8. It is self-evidently nonsense. As disgustingly socialistic as May’s manifesto is, it does not talk about nationalising everything under the sun

  9. It’s hugely flawed to determine political parties’ political stance based on their writings. It can only be done based on their actions. ‘frinstance, Political Compass keeps putting the Green Party in the ‘libertarian’ quadrant against all common sense observation.

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