David Cameron: Word count reveals all
- 2 October 2013
- From the section UK Politics
Count up the repeated words and phrases in David Cameron's conference speech and you capture what it was really about.
Labour was mentioned 25 times whereas the Lib Dems just twice , the Coalition once, Nick Clegg, UKIP and Nigel Farage not at all.
The prime minister wants to turn the political argument into what he calls a straight red/blue fight. His message was summed up in a single soundbite attacking "Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy …all sticking plasters and quick fixes... cobbled together for the TV cameras".
Tory market research reveals that voters are more moved by doubts about whether Labour would ever do what they promise, rather than the attacks on "a return to 1970s socialism" which moves Tory supporters, the Tory press and big business.
There were 15 pleas to "finish the job." David Cameron and George Osborne are determined to kill the idea that they think the economy is now fixed. He reminded the country that after three years of cuts the deficit was still huge. They believe that having lost the Plan A/Plan B argument Labour is trying to change the subject to a debate about living standards. They are determined to wrestle it back again.
What's described as the new Tory mission - building a "land of opportunity" - was mentioned 13 times.
The party hopes that it captures an optimistic vision; their commitment to reform education and welfare as well as the economy; and their belief in helping all and not just the few. It will be interesting to see if the phrase lasts any longer than many previous Conference phrases that die almost as soon as they're uttered.
What will stay in the memory from this Conference is the Tories' laser-like focus on the threat from Ed Miliband which they once laughed off.