The many names of British politics

Blog/2015/March/The many names of British politics

If you are using Language Spy to compare the British political parties, for example conservative, labour, liberal democrat, snp, and ukip, you will soon notice that the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives appear to be punching below their weight.

The reason is simple: the English language frustratingly has more than one word for the same thing. Are David Cameron's party Conservatives, or are they Tories? And is Nick Clegg a Liberal Democrat, or is he a Lib Dem? So if you were to search for conservative, labour, and tory for example you'd see the aggregate of conservative and tory would show a truer picture of the party's exposure in relation to their opposition.

So how do we deal with this problem? It's probable a future Language Spy might have the ability to aggregate two graph traces, however another way to approach it might be to use more targeted search terms.The party leaders perhaps, david cameron, ed miliband, nick clegg, and nigel farage, or the party players in the event you are researching.

If there is one lesson to take away from this, it is that parties with snappy unambiguous names get better name exposure. The Liberal Democrats adopted their name in a pre-Internet age and the Conservatives nickname dates to the 17th century. The SNP and UKIP benefit from snappy names and clear brands, while it is probable that Plaid Cymru do not.

Tags for this post: language,uk