Much ado about energy manifestos


As we gear up towards the general election, we here at ICON had a look at the parties’ energy manifestos.

I’m looking at the manifestos from the point of view of most used words. I’d like to add that you won’t find a more unbiased commentator than me as I’m not allowed to vote in this election.

The Labour energy manifesto is the longest. The three most used words in the manifesto besides the word ‘energy’ are ‘new’, with eleven mentions and ‘jobs’ and ‘public’ both mentioned nine times.

It’s not surprising that one of the most used words is ‘public’ as the most central message of the Labour manifesto is moving all energy companies into public ownership. Oddly enough, the word ‘ownership’ however is only mentioned twice in the five-page section.

What I do find puzzling how terms that are more relevant to the energy industry are mentioned much less. Words ‘infrastructure’, ‘networks’ and ‘policy’ are present only twice.

Is it significant that they are talking about renationalising infrastructure, but this talk does not really materialise in the manifesto? The spoken and written word don’t seem to quite align. Labour has five pages dedicated to energy, but it promises very little.

Moving on to the Conservatives. This is the only party with no specific energy section in their manifesto, but the points regarding energy are peppered across the whole document.

The three most used words besides the word energy are ‘new’ with ten mentions, ‘clean’ with seven mentions and ‘support’ with five mentions. Again, more specifically energy-related words such as ‘renewables’, ‘infrastructure’ and ‘low-carbon’ are only mentioned once.

However, it must be considered the total wordcount is much smaller than in any of the other manifestos. There are little specifics on energy so it’s hard to form an opinion.

Off to Liberal Democrats. Besides the word ‘energy’, the words ‘power’ and ‘homes’ are mentioned five times, while the word ‘fuel’ is mentioned four times. This makes sense, as fuel poverty is highlighted in the energy section of their manifesto, which mainly consists of a page dedicated to renewable energy.

Overall the ten most used words in this manifesto are more directly related to the energy industry than with Labour or Tories, with ‘zero-carbon’, ‘electricity’ and ‘generation’ all mentioned three times.

What nags at me about this manifesto is that despite the section examined here is relatively small, the word ‘efficiency’ is misspelled not once but twice.

Unsurprisingly the Green Party energy manifesto is larger with two pages. What is notable to me is that out of all the manifestos the three most used words besides ‘energy’ are all energy-related, with the words ‘electricity’ and ‘renewable’ being mentioned seven times and the word ‘nuclear’ mentioned five times.

Out of all manifestos examined the used language is most related to the energy industry itself, with ‘fossil’, ‘wind power’ and ‘gas’ being among the ten most used words.

Overall, I find it interesting that words related to the energy industry play such a small part in the Labour manifesto and such a small overall part in the Tory policy.

Interesting indeed!