WikiLeaks: No Conference Speech For Lightweight Osborne

By Andrew Ivey | Public Speaking

Dec 02

There’s an intriguing insight into modern Party politics within the latest round of US diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks. London Embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks carry the news that in 2008, the Conservative Party thought George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, to be too lightweight to give a speech on the economy. Definitely a case of no conference speech for hapless George.

No conference speech

Wikileaks Reports No Conference Speech For George Osborne In 2008

The speech, planned for the 2008 Conservative party conference in Birmingham was on the theme of the meltdown in the financial sector.

No Conference Speech Politics

Conservative Party insiders briefed a senior US Embassy diplomat that David Cameron would give the all-important economics speech instead of George Osborne—because private polling by the Conservatives indicated that voters thought Osborne too lightweight.

More On The Subject

You can always read more on this subject at the VPN alert blog.

That’s too lightweight because of his high pitched vocal delivery. Tone and gravitas were, apparently, needed in the crisis. And George had neither. Hence, no conference speech.

Hindsight suggests that the Tory apparatchiks were a bit unfair with Osborne. Cameron’s speech was labelled a “dog” by the Financial Times! The glorious leader managed to hit the wrong notes with a speech even wordier than that given by Gordon Brown the previous week.

It was the politics at the time that were key. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, habitually called Osborne a lightweight. Any reinforcement of that image–with speeches or otherwise–would have proved dangerous. Hence David Cameron and William Hague filled the speaking slots at the Birmingham conference.

So now we know. The Prime Minister sensed it…and so did the Tories! In the meantime, there’s no denying that George has now worked on his public speaking, and is ready for any conference speech.

You can always discover more public speaking tips with our regular series of tips, podcasts and videos. And, of course, when you want to take your public speaking skills even further, then why not consider some training. Because a one-day course will give you the skills and confidence you need for public speaking success. Whether that’s a conference speech or no conference speech. So, please don’t hesitate to get in touch when the time is right.

Yes, Please

Get The Newsletter Today

Telling It Straight is our very own public speaking tips newsletter. Packed with skills tips to help you with your next speech, why not receive it this month?


About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.

  • […] the evidence? We know that George Osborne was on the receiving end of a no conference speech decision by the Tories in 2008. On that occasion the hapless future Chancellor was thought to be […]

  • […] shadow chancellor, that need is greater than most. Since it was only two years since he was given no conference speech. In his speech at the Tories Spring conference yesterday he laid out a set of measures that he and […]

  • […] he'd even appear on the podium and deliver his conference speech. Of course those were the days of "no conference speech" for […]

  • […] in his delivery as he builds his public speaking experience. And, certainly the Wikileaks story of no conference speech for Osborne is very much […]

  • […] That's not bad for a Chancellor who only a few years ago struggled with conference speaking. […]

  • Isn’t it funny how we judge someone to be lightweight from the pitch of their voice.

    Men generally have deeper voices then women. Is this why it is mainly men in leadership positions around the world? Do we choose people to lead us – not because they can do the job – but because they sound as though they could do the job?


    Darren Fleming
    Presentation Skills Courses and Training

  • >