Week 6: The End!

This blog covers my final week of research. Although it is slightly delayed in being uploaded, this covers the final week of discourse analysis and where I am standing at the end of six really interesting weeks. I aim to publish a reflection on my project shortly.

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Day 1:

Today was about making the changes that were brought up during the mentor meeting I had last week. There were two key changes that I needed to make and I started with changing the formatting for my statistical analysis. Instead of simply putting a few figures into the table illustrating which discourse was dominant, I have now expanded it to be a full table in which I can see all figures for each discourse as well as how they compare to the overall statistics of the project.

The other change I have made is to my discourse analysis scheme. After a conversation with Dan, minor tweaks were made to ensure that I could have a watertight scheme which could be used in more than this project. I have altered one of my discourse schemes to remove the references to One Nation Labour as this was specifically referenced within Miliband only, therefore would not be relevant for the analysis under Corbyn and Starmer.


Day 2:

This was the start of my Corbyn analysis. I started to look at his speeches and understand exactly what he was saying, much like the Miliband and Starmer analysis completed over last week. I was able to complete all of Jeremy Corbyn’s analysis for his conference speeches which proved incredibly insightful.

Day 3:

I was able to finish my Corbyn analysis today, analysing Manifestos from 2017 and 2019, as well as speeches made at party conference by John McDonnell when he was in the position of Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Discourse under Corbyn is united and straight forward in contrast to the complex discourse presented under Ed Miliband. Corbyn seems to be united in a common goal, even to the point of being single issue about welfare. Despite this, there is still a lack of understanding about how much of a speech actually focuses on policy, and therefore one question that remains unanswered is a common one: How important is policy in reality?


Day 4:

Today is the last push for my project and the academic report which I am writing so far. I have decided today to finish the write up my findings about Corbyn and his development/discourse. This write up will be edited become part of my academic report when I complete it after Party Conference.

One of the most challenging aspects of writing up these findings is ensuring that I have the correct and academic tone which is required and this is something I am working on. While I am using statistics within my work, it is not completely statistical so keeping the descriptive and analytical tone remains vital.

Day 5:

Today is the last official day of my project! I have completed my Laidlaw Reflection task to show the results of my findings and the development of my leadership skills (which will soon be uploaded onto the network!). While I have not yet completed my full academic write up, I aim to finish this and develop my conclusions at the end of Labour Party Conference 2021 in which Starmer’s full plans should come to light and my project will be able to have a more inclusive and cohesive view.

This has been an incredibly valuable experience for me, as I have never been able to complete my own research project without being directly managed my someone else. Huge thanks to Dan Keith, my mentor on this project, for all the help and guidance he has given to me over the course of these six weeks.

Hannah Boyle

Undergraduate Student, University of York

I am a 2021 Laidlaw Scholar from the University of York, focusing my research on the question:  How was the U.K. Labour Party changed their discourse and proposed to challenge domestic poverty and inequality since 2010?

I have been involved in Politics at a local, grassroots level, including community campaigning, and previously worked for Rachel Reeves MP in her constituency office. As a Politics student, I am interested in all things political and anything related to International Relations, with particular interest on the European Union, Women in Politics and International Development.