What are the key words and phrases in the main manifestos?

Coming in at 64 pages – front and back covers included – the Conservative Party manifesto is about two-thirds of the length of the documents published by Labour (107 pages) and the Liberal Democrats (100 pages).

It runs to about 21,500 words, compared with 26,500 for Labour and 28,400 for the Lib Dems.

Length of manifestos
Length of manifestos

Given the manifesto’s brevity, it is perhaps no surprise there are fewer mentions of certain key words than in the other documents.

“Economy”, for example, appears 28 times in the Tory manifesto, compared with 36 for Labour and 49 for the Lib Dems.

“Environment”, or variations of the word such as “environmental”, appear 22 times, versus 55 for Labour and 49 for the Lib Dems.

And “crime” gets mentioned 24 times, compared with Labour’s 32 and the Lib Dems’ 27.

But “Brexit” turns up on 61 occasions, outnumbering the equivalent totals for Labour (21) and the Lib Dems (49).

The acronym “NHS” also appears more often than in the other documents – 45 (Conservative) compared with 34 (Labour) and 37 (Lib Dems).

Mentions in manifestos
Mentions in manifestos

Some topics get roughly the same volume of namechecks in all three manifestos – for example “investment” (30 mentions in the Tory manifesto, 36 for Labour and 35 for the Lib Dems) and “broadband” (five, 10 and six respectively).

There are other phrases that loom large in one or two of the documents, but not in others.

“Climate emergency” appears nine times for Labour and 14 for the Lib Dems, but only once for the Tories.

“Austerity” isn’t mentioned by either the Tories or Lib Dems, but gets 10 namechecks by Labour.

Mentions in manifestos
Mentions in manifestos

“Publicly owned” is another phrase that appears only in Labour’s document (four times) and not the others.

And there is one word that barely appears at all. “Deficit”, one of the dominant economic themes of the past decade, gets just one mention in the Conservative manifesto – and none at all the manifestos of Labour and the Lib Dems.