UK Election Social Round Up: Tony Blair, #nondom and Owen Jones

UK Election Social Round Up: Tony Blair, #nondom and Owen Jones

With around a month to go until the UK general election, it’s safe to say that the political social media conversation is finally starting to come to the boil. Sparked by the leaders debates last week, social discussions have continued apace so far this week and they seem to have a distinct reddish glow. Here at Talkwalker we’ve prepared a little snifter of social data analytics based election goodness for your pleasure.

Guess who’s back?

No we haven’t gone back in time, it really was Tony Blair giving a speech about the EU earlier this week. And it seems that at least in terms of generating interest, the former PM still “has it”. Social mentions of Blair soared to around 21,000 mentions following his speech, almost double the mentions of poor old Nick Clegg this week (11.4k mentions) and just an ale-soaked whisker off of Nigel Farage who has had 23.6k mentions.

tony blair share of voice 2

(Share of social mentions for UK party leaders plus Tony Blair for this week up to April 9th)

Unfortunately for the perma-tanned ex-leader, although the social response was large, it was far from positive. The Twitterati cocked their social media machine guns and unleashed a volley of derision with few having much good to say about Blair’s return to the political stage. Here are some of the most shared tweets discussing his return:

tony balir tweets snapshot

And in fact discussion about Blair’s return quickly receded into the distance when Labour announced this policy bombshell on Wednesday…

No More Non-Dom!

“We’ll end non-dom status” proclaimed the headlines on Wednesday morning as Ed Miliband and Ed Balls took to the media to spread the news of their new policy. In contrast to the return of Mr. Blair, the decision to scrap non-domiciled status - should Labour return to power of course - was met with a fairly positive response. First off, it generated a substantial level of online conversation, generating over 25k mentions on Wednesday alone and then gave birth to the hashtag #nondom which was trending on Twitter for most of the day. Perhaps even more impressive was that it achieved all this from a standing start with virtually no discussion of non-dom tax/status prior to the announcement.

non dom tax over time

(Social conversation about non-domiciled status over the last 30 days)

Miliband and Co. can also take encouragement from the tone of the discussion with several high profile figures coming out in support of scrapping non-dom status including this from celebrity businessman and Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne:


Alas it wasn’t all good news with the swift emergence of this video showing Ed Balls talking about how abolishing non-dom status would actually cost more money than it saved. “Fast work by Tory HQ” said Times columnist Tim Montgomerie on Twitter and within just a few hours #ballsup was born.

mentions of #nondom vs #ballsup for Apr 8

(Comparison of hashtag usage between #nondom and #ballsup on April 8th)

Owen Jones – Twitter Champion

Election time invariably leads to journalists, politicians, celebrities and really pretty much everyone making their voice heard on social media and this week, Guardian columnist and well known left-wing commentator Owen Jones managed to make a big impact with his tweets. His top tweet was this on polarising Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins’ pledge to leave the country should Labour win the election:

katie hopkins owen jones

And then Mr. Jones gave us his two pennies on the Trident debate that surfaced on Thursday:

trident jones

With social traction like this, Labour may well find themselves indebted to Mr. Jones’ social pronouncements should they emerge victorious in May.

That’s all for now, but we’ll hopefully be back next week with another round up of social data from the ongoing UK election bonanza.

Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images on The Guardian cropped and resized to 1024x582