I or we

The words we use can reveal more than we intend.

Coming in to my new role at Coops UK, I was interested to have a look at how cooperative our leaders in society are and chose a simple and playful test. Do they talk in speeches about ‘I’ or ‘we’? Do they talk about ‘me’ or about ‘us’?

With the aid of downloading and wordcounts, it wasn’t hard to do. So what were the results?

In the run up to the general election all the political parties have been talking about how they are going to embrace co-operation.

Both David Cameron (2.8) and Gordon Brown (2.6) scored over 2.5 – with Cameron just ahead – while Nick Clegg was well behind with 1.85.

Our UK leaders were streets ahead of continental counterparts, such as Nicholas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Je, Je, Je… Ich, ich, ich.

But they were all way behind Churchill (we shall fight them on the beaches) on 6.5 and contemporary faith leaders, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, on 5.8.

The results are admittedly more light-hearted than scientific, but while the political parties seem to make all the right noises at election time, when in power will they talk the talk, never mind walk the walk?!

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