Joseph Ernst and Jan van Bruggen at Sideline Collective have converted the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement into an alphabetical dataset, allowing readers to study the text removed from the “persuasive power” of its actual language. The data book launches today (24 January), marking the second anniversary of the signing of the withdrawal agreement – the exact wording of which took almost five years to finalise. The alphabetised data project is titled: Agreement and Britain European from Great Ireland Kingdom Northern of of on the the the Union United Withdrawal.
The creative collective explains that, by looking through the project, readers can see how certain topics feature more or less prominently than we might have assumed from the campaign run, offering new “quantifiable” insights on its real content. “Despite its 182,104 word count, there is little mention of many of the main issues that swayed the British population to vote for Brexit,” says Sideline Collective.
Arguments that were central to the Leave campaign appear to be given less focus in the final text: “Independence” appears only three times, “Immigration” only once, and “Borders” is used six times. In total there are 17 instances of “Remain” compared to only four instances of the word “Leave”. As the fallout of the past two years reflects, much of the data appears to point towards negative trends; “Importation” appears 45 times and “Exportation” just 21. “Short-term” appears 28 times whereas “Long-term” just 12. “Rights” are mentioned 226 times, but “Authority” is over double that at 505 times. “Welfare” appears 14 times.
The environment also makes a modest appearance. Despite the word “Climate” appearing 48 times, terms like “Sustainability” appear just five times and “Pollution” only three. “Carbon” appears 10 times, “Emissions” nine times, “Biodiversity” three times and “Biofuels” once. Diversity and inclusion are equally sidelined. “Gender” gets just a single mention and, despite being penned in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, “Equality” and “Racism” are each mentioned only once in the entire 181-page document.
However, Sideline Collective also points out a range of positives in the document, such as the fact “Peace” outnumbers “War” by six instances to two; the “Future” appears 22 times, the “Past” only once.
Sideline Creative explains: “Some will take solace from these findings. Others will denounce them as propaganda. But this is what the data says. And everyone knows the data never lies.” This is the third book in a series of seminal texts transformed into data by the collective, including The Bible and The Constitution of the United States of America. The project is available for purchase as a paperback or digital download via the Sideline Collective site.
GalleryJoseph Ernst and Jan van Bruggen: Agreement and Britain European from Great Ireland Kingdom Northern of of on the the the Union United Withdrawal (Copyright © Sideline Collective, 2021)
Joseph Ernst and Jan van Bruggen: Agreement and Britain European from Great Ireland Kingdom Northern of of on the the the Union United Withdrawal (Copyright © Sideline Collective, 2021)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.