Exploring Manifestos: A Deep Dive with the OnePlanet Platform

Manifestos are complex documents - but that doesn't mean they have to be difficult to understand

Exploring Manifestos: A Deep Dive with the OnePlanet Platform

Manifestos are complex documents - but that doesn't mean they have to be difficult to understand

A manifesto is dense in information, but being able to visualise it can bring the whole picture into focus. We hear from three perspectives simplifying the complex using systems-mapping on the OnePlanet Platform.

Individual Manifesto Mindmaps

If you would like to explore each Party’s offerings before reading the breakdown below, you can explore their Manifestos in detail on the OnePlanet platform:

Ben Gill – OnePlanet

When we started on the process of mapping out the political parties’ manifestos it was the first time that many of us had looked in detail at a single manifesto, let alone tried to actually analyse and compare them.

For me this process highlighted a number of key points: 

  • While all the parties actually agree on a lot (growing British business, protecting the NHS, providing good schools and facilities), the manifestos focus on their points of difference. 
  • Given the common ground often there was quite a lot of overlap in the goals, but the difference was the actions that would be taken to achieve this. Understanding this detail was definitely aided by being able to compare the actions on OnePlanet. 
  • The manifestos seemed to have two clear tactics to appeal to voter; painting a hopeful (utopian?) vision or highlighting the failings and fear. 

I was mapping the Liberal Democrat manifesto which fell squarely into the ‘Hopeful’ camp and addressed many of the Young Leaders Shared Outcomes. Though is it enough to make me bungee jump into their camp? 

Paul Tucker – Platform Housing Group

I’ve never read an election manifesto in as much detail as I did for this process! It was enlightening to go through and see what is included, and to what level of detail. Partly why I’ve never read a manifesto before is because it’s a long boring document that honestly, I had little desire to spend time reading. 

The output of systems mapping the manifesto is a visual representation of the manifesto that I was able to explore. Not only was it more visually appealing than a document, but it was also more engaging, and I could zone in on areas of interest. Mapping around the One Planet Living Principles also provides a colourful means of seeing what topics the manifestos focus on the most, the least, or perhaps not at all. 

I mapped the Green Party manifesto and was surprised how much it focused on social issues such as equality, health, and happiness, more so than the environmental issues, although these did still feature prominently. I felt the Green party manifesto was open, aspirational, kind-hearted, although I am well aware others may consider it naïve and unrealistic. I felt I was able to review and get a flavour for each manifesto guided by the systems map that had been created. There are plenty of shared outcomes across the manifestos, I suppose what differentiates the parties is different ideas of how to achieve those shared outcomes. 

The process led me to wonder: how could systems mapping support a more collaborative approach to policy making, and tame the hyper competitive nature of our political process? 

Ben King – Rewired Earth

I found helping to climate map the Labour manifesto incredibly interesting, using the One Planet Living Principles and Young Leaders Climate Manifesto Shared Outcomes provided a new perspective. Positively, many of the shared outcomes created by Young Leaders at OnePlanet were addressed by the Labour manifesto, meaning it is aligned with Young Leaders’ priorities. 

Using the platform enabled us to compare differences between manifestos, and easily identify each party’s alignment with our own priorities due to the visual clarity of the platform. It also allows us to see the shared policies helping to address major issues in the UK and the inclusion of these core policies across most of the manifestos was reassuring to see. 

Along with these observations, I also found it interesting to compare which OPL categories are prioritised most in each manifesto as it shows the difference in focus between parties which see the UK as an open-system (such as Lib Dem and Green) and those who see the country as a closed system (such as Reform) who therefore focus less on issues such as kindness to immigration and net zero policies. 

In summary, it was great to analyse the manifestos in great detail, and be able to observe patterns between the parties’ plans.

Words by Ben Gill, Art by Felix Christoforou

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