NFU 2010: Word-by-word analysis of Benn speech

Hilary Benn delivered his third speech to the NFU Conference on Tuesday (23 Feb) during which he claimed that the government’s approach to farming had changed after listening to farmers.


But does the language used in his most recent speech reflect a change?

Farmers Weekly has run the speeches from 2008, 2009 and 2010 through a programme called Wordle to identify the 25 words which appeared most often.

The results suggest that Mr Benn may indeed have changed some of his views in the past 12 months.

The speeches from 2008 and 2009 produced virtually identical word clouds (see below).

2008 Speech 

Benn 2008

2009 Speech

2009 Benn

But the latest speech features the words ‘British’ and ‘UK’ far more prominently – perhaps reflecting the government’s realisation that food security cannot be ignored and that a strong UK production base is vital.

2010 Speech

2010 benn

Interestingly, the other word that appears repeatedly in the most recent speech is ‘need’.

Farmers will be hoping that this is a signal that the government realises that it ‘needs’ farmers after all.

Keep up to date with the NFU Conference on our special report page.  Share your thoughts on the speech on the forums.

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