MONDAY 1 MAR 2010 10:40 AM


Conservative Party leader David Cameron addressed his party conference with a speech that eschewed specifics in favour of a simplified message, as his press office rammed home the fact that the speech was made without notes.

In his Spring conference speech, the language Cameron used points to a Conservative party still reluctant to commit on policy in favour of a continuation message of change. Generally, Cameron used fewer key policy words than in his October speech. Back then, his address to those assembled at the Autumn Conservative party conference saw as much emphasis placed on policy words like 'schools', 'pay', and 'work' as on more general words like 'change' and 'people'.

But while yesterday's speech did raise policy issues, it did so in much less depth. The key words used were 'people', 'want' and 'change'.

The two word clouds below compare the language used in Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party on 28 February with last year’s Autumn conference speech.

Cameron February word cloud

Above, David Cameron's speech at the Spring Conservative party conference, February 2010, and below, his speech from the Autumn conference, 2009.

Cameron September word cloud

Word clouds created by

Interestingly, the key message that came out of Cameron's speech was one not made by him, but by his press office. At the time of writing (some 17 hours after the event), there have been approximately 640 googled news items referring to Cameron having delivered his speech without notes. This compares with the 920 googled news items telling us in advance that Cameron, the former head of corporate communications for ITV, would be delivering his speech without notes, making it the key issue covered by journalists prior to the speech taking place. His opening line also made reference to his ability to communicate without the need for a written aide memoir.