Clegg’s Manifesto Speech: Fair Enough?

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Apr 21

Speaking at the launch of the Liberal Democrats manifesto Nick Clegg used his speech to outline his approach to a fairer Britain.

The speech was structurally sound. His introduction outlined his ideas for people to achieve their own potential without over interference. He labeled this “fairness.”

With this label he then laid out a four step plan. A plan, not a promise. Four steps that he described as, “specific, concrete, tangible.”

His speech made use of contrasts…a favourite device. For instance:

“Not to tell people how to live their lives.

But to make their choices possible.”

Speaking animatedly he made good use of his step structure, explaining each step as “fair.” And he finished the middle part of his speech with a series of forward looking contrasts:

“If we learn from the mistakes of the past and try something new…

We can turn anger into hope.

Frustration into ambition.

Recession into opportunity for everyone.”

His direct appeal to his audience came with a 3-part repetitive list of  “if you want” sentences:

“If you want practical help instead of empty words: this is a manifesto for you.

If you want a government that helps where it can and gets out of the way when it should: this is a manifesto for you.

If you want promises you can trust: this is a manifesto for you.”

His position taking finale reinforced the point that this was an election 2010 manifesto speech. No doubts:

“The two old parties have taught us to expect little from politicians and get less.

They have taught us to expect that elections are four weeks of being fobbed off with promises you know will be broken, and in the end you vote for the red team or the blue team, whichever you dislike the least.

Our manifesto says an emphatic No to that kind of politics.”

A well constructed speech that made good use of a simple 4-part structure. His audience was left in no doubt that his theme was “fairness.”

Yes, Please

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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. Andrew Ivey on Google+