Manifesto Check 2015
The public’s confidence in politicians and the media is eroded.
Facts and statistics – once seen as a source of clarity and truth – are vulnerable to manipulation and misuse. But we believe that useful evidence still has a place in public debate. In the context of the 2015 general election, the need for independent scrutiny of ‘the facts’ is greater than ever before. Now, the Alliance for Useful Evidence is funding The Conversation to create a new space for evidence-based comment and analysis.
The Conversation is an independent news website featuring content sourced entirely from the global academic and research community. It couples academic rigour with journalistic flair to unlock the knowledge of the world’s sharpest minds for the general public. A common dedication to hard evidence has brought The Conversation and Alliance together to promote facts over spin through smart, research-based election coverage.
The result is a complement of features, which form a reliable, go-to source for voters across the country. Impartial evidence checks hold politicians and their parties to account, while expert commentary provides unique insight into all aspects of the campaign. The coverage will range from local constituencies through to national trends, with contributions from researchers across all parts of the UK. We invite to you to explore this new space, and join in a fresh, intelligent, and most of all, evidence-based discussion of the 2015 general election.
For the first time, The Conversation is conducting a comprehensive Manifesto Check, offering up an unbiased evaluation of the policies as they appear in the party manifestos. In response to the fracturing of Britain’s political landscape, the Manifesto Check will encompass traditional parties like Labour, the Conservatives, and the Lib Dems, but also rising contenders like the Green Party and UKIP, and nationalist movements like the SNP and Plaid Cymru.
A team of non-partisan academics from a wide range of fields will assess each policy document for factual accuracy and plausibility. Their findings will then be blind peer reviewed to ensure accuracy and impartiality. Each party will be held to account, as experts in policy unpick their pledges on healthcare, education, immigration, the economy, and more.
In 2015, we will take the UK’s politicians to task over the claims they make and the statistics they quote. The Conversation’s unique, peer-reviewed process sets an exceptional standard for factual accuracy, providing readers with the expertise they need to see through the political smokescreen. We will be monitoring the key figures closely, but we also invite you to tell us which facts you want checked: submit your requests here.
State of the Nation Essays
The Conversation will publish a series essays on the state of the nation, providing an authoritative, evidence-based analysis of the 10 most pressing issues in the 2015 campaign. These pieces will provide a clear-eyed health check on the coalition government’s progress over the last five years, across a range of vital policy areas: from the NHS, to crime and justice, to the economy.
Weekly commentary on the election from experts, we know and trust: The Conversation’s election columnists will keep voters up to date with the key issues in the campaign. Respected academics like Katherine Dommett, Graham Cookson, and Paul Whiteley will keep track and take stock of the latest events in the campaign, without losing sight of the bigger picture.
The Conversation will run two special features to round off our coverage. Readers will get a first-hand account of life on the campaign trail with Party Colours, where UK academics write about their experiences as candidates or campaigners in the upcoming election. Meanwhile, our Marginal Campuses feature gives universities in interesting and marginal constituencies a chance to reveal what’s going on in the seats which could decide the election.