How a speech can make or break a politician

Did you see David Cameron's speech at Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool? It was a brilliant speech - the speech of his life. David spoke for over an hour without notes - quite a feat! But then he is a class act through and through.

Please find the link here to the full text of the speech on the Conservative Party website - there is too much of it for me to adequately summarise here.

On a local note, David's humane and professional performance reminded me of the announcement of the Hornsey & Wood Green Parliamentary results at Alexandra Palace in 2005. What a powerful contrast he makes with the terminally inadequate Lynne Featherstone on that occasion: she only had to speak for 5 minutes, but she couldn't even manage that off-the-cuff. We were subjected to that scratchy, whining voice talking down into her notes the whole time, delivering the most graceless victory speech of all time. She even failed to thank the local police for their conduct on the day - a major faux pas, as this is a tradition upheld by politicians of all parties since time immemorial. So embarassingly awful was she that even Barbara Roche couldn't resist saying "Look! No notes!" when she got up to speak following Lynne.

Still, if Gordon does decide to call an election any time soon, we can expect to see Lynne propelled into early-retirement in her Highgate mansion: the resurgence in both Conservative and Labour fortunes nationally should be enough to consign Featherstone to the obscurity she deserves.


Ellee said...

Maybe public speaking is something we should promote more at school, it is so crucial and can result in huge powers of persuasion. Sadly, I lack the confidence, but am working on it.

David Allen said...

Ellee, I always think that the American system of getting kids to do 'Show & tell' talks in front of their classmates from their first year in school is one of the reasons Americans of all backgrounds are generally so much more confident and articulate than comparable Brits.
Justin, not sure about the 'revival' in Labour's fortunes since Gordon's terrible w/e, but at least the LibDems fortunes are plummeting even further!

Patriccus said...

Actually, public speaking is something which we as Conservatives (not to mention candidates in local, parliamentary and Euro elections) should be concerning ourselves with very clearly. I have actually offered to put together a tailored public speaking one-day seminar for the three local associations, but so far no-one seems willing...

Anonymous said...

Good point made by elle. It's true that the Party has been afflicted by some uninspiring speakers in the past ala Peter Lillie and I.D.S and so on.
A good speech requires clarity, a bit of volume and possibly occasional humour thrown in. Something that Im afraid Blair was good at. I think that the tone of the voice has a lot to do with it. Cameron and Blair have just the right tone and clarity.
But Iv'e always thought that the Party ought to have a speech therapist to enable some of the speakers to come across just that little bit better.
Remember how David Davies's Speech let him down when he was gunning for the leadership. Now there's a speech he'll never forget. The words were there but there was no volume, tone, clarity or passion.

Oh Justin, talking about great speeches I have to tell you that on Sunday John Bercow MP made a barnstorming powerhouse of a speech in Trafalgar Square. It was the Rally for Burma. He even brought tears to my eyes, and others.
Because we were listening to several Burmese speakers that took some work to keep up with, John Bercow gave us clarity and volume (by Shouting at the top of his voice). I also believe that his great speach brought out what I can only call 'delayed grieving' for the people of Burma. Ive put up all the March and Rally photos up on my blog.
Well done John Bercow.


Norfolk Blogger said...

Perhaps you should ahve been in North Norfolk in 1997 when David Prior refused to shake Norman Lamb's hand when Prior had narrowly won the seat. Graceless was not the word.

A lot of Lib Dems attending that day used that as their driving force for doing all they could to see Prior lose in 2001.

We can all pick out examples of the opposition being bad Justin.

Mash said...

David's speech was absolutely brilliant, he spoke from the heart and sounded particularly eloquent. Probably one of the most significantly important speeches in his political career.

Another good speaker would have to be without doubt me :-) hahahh

Matt said...

slightly late to comment on this, but I'm glad you mentioned what Barbara Roche said at the count in 2005, I thought it was pretty classless.

worth remembering, of course, that Lynne (along with all of us) had been up since 3 or 4am delivering good morning leaflets and knocking on doors... it must be difficult making a speech after 24 hours of campaigning!