Top 5 parties by newspaper and Twitter mentions

Results from the NS Digital Dashboard.

So just over a week into the campaign, which parties have been generating most noise? Assuming all publicity is good publicity, then the BNP, Ukip and the Green Party will be pleased with their print and online coverage.

It's well worth noting, of course, that the Twitter numbers are not correlated with the parties' popularity or their numbers of supporters -- in particular, a good 50 per cent of the BNP posts (based on a 200-tweet sample) are negative.

 

 

The number-crunching comes courtesy of Resolver Systems. More of this soon.

Top 5 parties in newspapers (in reverse order):
- ("Green Party", 41)
- ("Ukip", 45)
- ("Liberal Democrats", 248)
- ("Conservatives", 879)
- ("Labour Party", 924)

Top 5 parties on Twitter (in reverse order):
- ("BNP", 3,423)
- ("Ukip", 4,412)
- ("Liberal Democrats", 5,503)
- ("Conservatives", 23,477)
- ("Labour Party", 44,624)

Note: These numbers are based on how frequently parties, people and topics were mentioned on Twitter and in the major UK newspapers over the past week, with a number of adjustments to make sure that only mentions relating to the general election are considered. Mentions can be positive, negative or neutral, and should not be confused with popularity.

 

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Europe's elections show why liberals should avoid fatalism

France, Germany and the Netherlands suggest there is nothing inevitable about the right's advance.

Humans are unavoidably pattern-seeking creatures. We give meaning to disparate events where little or none may exist. So it is with Brexit and Donald Trump. The proximity of these results led to declarations of liberalism's demise. After decades of progress, the tide was said to have unavoidably turned.

Every election is now treated as another round in the great duel between libralism and populism. In the Netherlands, the perennial nativist Geert Wilders was gifted outsize attention in the belief that he could surf the Brexit-Trump wave to victory. Yet far from triumphing, the Freedom Party finished a distant second, increasing its seats total to 20 (four fewer than in 2010). Wilders' defeat was always more likely than not (and he would have been unable to form a government) but global events gifted him an aura of invincibility.

In France, for several years, Marine Le Pen has been likely to make the final round of the next presidential election. But it was only after Brexit and Trump's election that she was widely seen as a potential victor. As in 2002, the front républicain is likely to defeat the Front National. The winner, however, will not be a conservative but a liberal. According to the post-Trump narrative, Emmanuel Macron's rise should have been impossible. But his surge (albeit one that has left him tied with Le Pen in the first round) suggests liberalism is in better health than suggested.

In Germany, where the far-right Alternative für Deutschland was said to be remorselessly advancing, politics is returning to traditional two-party combat. The election of Martin Schulz has transformed the SPD's fortunes to the point where it could form the next government. As some Labour MPs resign themselves to perpeutal opposition, they could be forgiven for noting what a difference a new leader can make.

2016 will be forever remembered as the year of Brexit and Trump. Yet both events could conceivably have happened in liberalism's supposed heyday. The UK has long been the EU's most reluctant member and, having not joined the euro or the Schengen Zone, already had one foot outside the door. In the US, the conditions for the election of a Trump-like figure have been in place for decades. For all this, Leave only narrowly won and Hillary Clinton won three million more votes than her opponent. Liberalism is neither as weak as it is now thought, nor as strong as it was once thought.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.