Social Sentiment Analysis: Robson, Murray and Janowicz: Brought to you by Wimbledon Insights.

In association with IBM.

With both Laura Robson and Andy Murray playing Centre Court today, it was inevitable that British players would dominate the Wimbledon action on Twitter today. Tracking tweets and analysing their content, IBM’s social sentiment analytics gave Robson an enviable Positive Sentiment score of 92%, with the number of tweets about her boosted by support from three of five members of UK boy band, One Direction. “Robson going in the right direction. Certainly the best female British tennis player I’ve seen. Had the ferocity that Durie, Smith, Wade lacked” tweeted @chelseaboy1971. “I think Laura Robson will be world No.1 one day. She’s got placement, power and a winning mentality.” Agreed @Joe380.

Later, Andy Murray might have been trailing his opponent on the Positive Sentiment front, with a score of 83% to Tommy Robredo’s 87%, but he was beating him in both the tennis and the tweets. At peak towards the end of the second set, Murray was the subject of approximately 180 tweets per minute to Robredo’s 50.

While Murray is trying hard not to get ahead of himself, the same can’t be said of his fans. “I’m not sure anyone in the world is playing as well as Andy Murray right now #no1inwaiting” said @briandick. “If Andy Murray doesn’t win Wimbledon I’m calling it a choke. He is playing a different level of Tennis” tweeted @grantthompson15. Even @piersmorgan was making bold predictions. “I’m telling you… @andy_murray is going to win #Wimbledon this year. Bet your house on it” tweeted the self-proclaimed “#MysticMorgan”.

Beyond the Brits, there was plenty of praise for the Polish world No.22, Jerzy Janowicz, and not quite so much for his opponent, Nicolas Almagro. By the end of three sets Janowicz was the subject of over 400 tweets in ten minutes, with a positive sentiment score of 85% to his opponent’s 68%. “Janowicz is impressive. Almagro has no answers” tweeted @RupertBell. “Janowicz is killing Almagro with his serve” concurred @pauffley. For many, this tweet from @HudAnSonDob says it all: “Wish I was at centre court to witness this match, looks awesome. Janowicz is a star of the future.”

Stuart Andrews

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Theresa May's U-Turn may have just traded one problem for another

The problems of the policy have been moved, not eradicated. 

That didn’t take long. Theresa May has U-Turned on her plan to make people personally liable for the costs of social care until they have just £100,000 worth of assets, including property, left.

As the average home is valued at £317,000, in practice, that meant that most property owners would have to remortgage their house in order to pay for the cost of their social care. That upwards of 75 per cent of baby boomers – the largest group in the UK, both in terms of raw numbers and their higher tendency to vote – own their homes made the proposal politically toxic.

(The political pain is more acute when you remember that, on the whole, the properties owned by the elderly are worth more than those owned by the young. Why? Because most first-time buyers purchase small flats and most retirees are in large family homes.)

The proposal would have meant that while people who in old age fall foul of long-term degenerative illnesses like Alzheimers would in practice face an inheritance tax threshold of £100,000, people who die suddenly would face one of £1m, ten times higher than that paid by those requiring longer-term care. Small wonder the proposal was swiftly dubbed a “dementia tax”.

The Conservatives are now proposing “an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs”. The actual amount is TBD, and will be the subject of a consultation should the Tories win the election. May went further, laying out the following guarantees:

“We are proposing the right funding model for social care.  We will make sure nobody has to sell their family home to pay for care.  We will make sure there’s an absolute limit on what people need to pay. And you will never have to go below £100,000 of your savings, so you will always have something to pass on to your family.”

There are a couple of problems here. The proposed policy already had a cap of sorts –on the amount you were allowed to have left over from meeting your own care costs, ie, under £100,000. Although the system – effectively an inheritance tax by lottery – displeased practically everyone and spooked elderly voters, it was at least progressive, in that the lottery was paid by people with assets above £100,000.

Under the new proposal, the lottery remains in place – if you die quickly or don’t require expensive social care, you get to keep all your assets, large or small – but the losers are the poorest pensioners. (Put simply, if there is a cap on costs at £25,000, then people with assets below that in value will see them swallowed up, but people with assets above that value will have them protected.)  That is compounded still further if home-owners are allowed to retain their homes.

So it’s still a dementia tax – it’s just a regressive dementia tax.

It also means that the Conservatives have traded going into the election’s final weeks facing accusations that they will force people to sell their own homes for going into the election facing questions over what a “reasonable” cap on care costs is, and you don’t have to be very imaginative to see how that could cause them trouble.

They’ve U-Turned alright, but they may simply have swerved away from one collision into another.  

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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