>Czech elections: Mind my Wordle


So what are the Czech elections about? Well, as glance at the rash of orange billboards – and milder outbreak of blue ones – will tell you “It’s the welfare state, stupid”. And especially the health service, where the nominal charges introduced by the last centre-right government (remember that? Seems along time ago) have become a totemic issue.

Feeding the party platforms of the two main contenders into the Wordle the online word frequency art program basically confirms this impression. Words like ‘public’ ‘health’ ‘benefit’ and ‘care’ proliferate in the word clouds generated both for the Civic Democrats (ODS) (top – blue and green) and the Social Democrats (orange – opposite) although ODS alone lays claim to the words ‘working’ and ‘insurance’. Linguistically, the Social Democrats seem big on decisive top down action (or the promise of it) with the word Zavedeme (‘We will introduce’) topping the list, while ODS’s key doing word is ‘Solution’ (Řešení) although as this is not the imperfect aspect that more suggestive of beginning or trying to solve than resolving: ‘Approach’ might be another translation. And what – given that I am something of a born again fan of Grand Coalitions – we run both big parties’ programmes together through Wordle: the answer is a certain agreement on the key issues but not much of a coincidence of language (less frequent and hence smaller key words in the cloud) suggesting – perhaps a degree of ideological difference, although the extent to which that is real rather than just a matter of ideologically phrasing is, of course not clear, from this exercise.

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