Jonathan Freedland wrote a fascinating piece in the Guardian today that compared the place we find ourselves today with the early days of the Thatcherite years. The quote from Neil Kinnock was four years into the reign of the Iron Lady but his points were well made.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
Popular Hashtags in the 2010 UK General Election Campaign #GE2010
This general election has been the first in which Hastags have played a part, they are used in social networks and most commonly in twitter, as user-generated meta data. Put simply they are a way of identifying and therefore following tweets that cover the election or an aspect of it . Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular ones
#GE2010 – This is the default tag for posts that relate to the 2010 general election. There are others but this has emerged as the most popular because it is economical in its use of characters.
#GE10 – A shorter form, but less used than the above. Useful if you have run out of characters but likely to be seen by fewer people.
#Vote – Has been used both as a short generic hashtag for the election but was also popular in encouraging voters to register before the deadline.
#UKElection – More instantly recognisable than #GE2010 but not quite as popular because it eats up more characters.
#LeadersDebate – One of the most interesting because it was part of a phenomenon that TV programme makers call “two-screen”, using a laptop or smart phone to comment on live television. It mean that social networks rather than conventional media were the first to pass judgement on the performance of the part leaders during the TV debates.
#iagreewithnick – Echoing Gordon Brown’s famous utterance during the first TV debate and used primarily to show support for the LibDem leader during the bounce his party received after the first debate.
#NickCleggsFault – Widely employed to mock the print media’s ‘assassination’ attempts on Clegg. It was a meme that lasted a few days as Clegg was accused of all manner of spoofed wrongdoings.
#paxo – Similar to the #LeadersDebate but employed for the Paxman leader interviews.
#LibDemFlashMob – The hashtag used to organise the Liberal Democrat gatherings in Trafalgar Square and other UK cities on Bank Holiday Monday.
#InVinceCable – Used by a group of digital marketeers and PR people, and their fellow travellers, to promote Vince Cable as Chancellor in the event of a hung or balanced parliament. (FD Election10 endorses the objectives of the #InVinceCable campaign).
#Labourdoorstep – Used by Labour candidates and activists to emphasise the fact that they were taking the campaign directly to the voters.
I’m going to venture another one that might become popular in the next few days. #Hung10 anyone?
Guitar Duo Mandelson and Brown Jammin’ for Victory
The social web has thrown up some bizarre things but this has to be one of the weirdest, and yet somehow compelling bits of content that has surfaced during the election campaign. It’s not that clear to me whether it is pro or anti Labour. Either way it’s essential viewing.
Labour and Conservative Decline Traces Back Over Half a Century
This morning I posted about the decline in the overall share of the two “major” parties and how this pointed to a certain hung parliament.
The post attracted a lot of traffic and several comments not least from one Ben Goldacre, journalist, doctor and author of the Bad Science blog. I used ICM/Guardian data and plotted a graph showing the decline in votes over the last 20 years for the two major parties. He accused me of bullshitting and repeatedly called me a twat because I had omitted data from 1984-1990 that was available from the Guardian. In fact the reason for starting from 1990 was because 20 years seemed like a good length of time to support the argument and there was a blip in the early eighties caused by the split of the SDP from Labour and their alliance with the Liberals. I ought to point out that I wasn’t entirely blameless in the exchange in that I suggested he’d had a drink or two. Sorry Ben.
I am now posting using election data from the last 50 years and the latest poll data for 2010. I think the picture is pretty clear and undistorted and supports the earlier hypothesis. The combined support for the two main parties has been falling for 50 years. If that continues and there is no proof that it will then two-party politics is on the way out. The defining moment might just be on Thursday.
‘Hung’ Parliament Guaranteed by Labour and Conservative Decline
The TV debates aren’t responsible for the Hung Parliament that will follow Thursday’s election as surely as night follows day. A quarter of a century of decline in the combined Labour and Conservative share of the vote means that the two party stranglehold over UK politics is on its way out and Clegg’s TV performance was just a tipping point.
One of the wonderful things about the web is the accessibility of data. The Guardian has published all of the Guardian/ICM polling data since 1984. At Election 10 we took the combined Labour and Conservative share for every poll and created the graph above. In 1990 the two parties were claiming almost 90% of the vote between them this has shrunk to a little over 60% and it has been a steady consistent decline. A continuation of this would mean a government taking power that was opposed by around 65% of the population. Even our bizarre electoral system can’t sustain this.
To predict the future we must delve into the past. In this case the past is telling us that the party is very nearly over for the reds and blues and the voters will be calling time this Thursday.