VISUALISED: George Osborne’s 2010 and 2011 Budget speeches

Posted on March 26, 2011 by

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BY BEN WHITELAW

2010 Budget speech – 24th March 2010

2011 Budget speech – 23 March 2011

Above are George Osborne’s two Budget speeches as Chancellor visualised into as word cloud generator on Many Eyes, showing the words used most frequently.

The results could not be more astonishing.

As you can see, the 2010 speech contains a huge amount of financial terminology, obviously because the UK was in a recession and cuts to government services were at the forefront of discussion. Therefore ‘tax’, ‘debt’, ‘fiscal’, ‘budget’, ‘cent’, ‘spending’, ‘billion’ and ‘expenditure’ all feature heavily.

Fast forward to 2010 and it’s all chance. ‘Billion’ is much smaller, ‘debt’ almost impossible to see (to the right of ‘year’), ‘Budget’ is half the size of 2010 (to the left of ‘year’) and ‘fiscal’ is nowhere to be seen. Instead, ‘Britain’ hints at a togetherness and national identity  and ‘enterprise’, ‘encourage’, ‘announce’ and ‘introduce’ all suggest a sea-change for the better.

Obviously the word ‘tax’ is used to a similar degree. In both 2010 and 2011, despite the differing tones of the Budget speech in regards to cuts and now growth, the word ‘tax’ is bar far the most frequently used word in Mr Osborne’s speeches. In 2011, the semantic context around positive words, such as ‘new’, ‘next’, ‘now’, ‘growth’, ‘rise’ and ‘increase’ perhaps demonstrate a desire to cloak this big word ‘tax’ and focus on more positive language.

Note also the difference in the use of ‘speaker’ – in 2010, the formal title (found on the left of the visualisation) is probably in the top ten most frequently used words but are very small in 2011 (see bottom left). I’d suggest that this means that the Chancellor was perhaps a little more deferent in his first Budget speech in 2010 but, perhaps more confident a year on, felt less obliged to address the House of Commons speaker John Bercow so reverently.

So overall, a massive difference in George Osborne’s two Budget speeches and a clear indication of the way the Government is heading.

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