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  • Johnson Is A Non-Runner With Doncaster Racecourse Conference Speech

You might reckon that a Prime Minister who's already lost two ethics advisers might know the delicate decorum of conference attendance. Particularly when you're the star turn. But no, it seems that he doesn't. Prime Minister Johnson was the main attraction at the Conservatives event with his Doncaster racecourse conference speech on Friday. The event was organised by the Northern Research Group of MPs. And at least 20 Conservatives MPs in Northern England attended. But Johnson proved to be a conference no-show. A Doncaster racecourse non-runner. Who bet on that?

Doncaster racecourse conference speech

Prime Minister Johnson Proves A Non-runner With Doncaster Racecourse Conference Speech Attendance.

There's clearly much going on in the Prime Minister's life right now beyond cake, parties and 50 shades of the Gray Report. There's a major economic recession caused by the Conservatives lockdown measures. There are two imminent by-elections caused by the inappropriate behaviour of the former Conservatives incumbents. And, of course there's the proxy war being fought by Ukraine. Simply put, that's quite a workload for any politician.

Doncaster Racecourse Conference Speech Is A Losing Bet

So the matter of the Prime Minister's no-show at the Doncaster conference has attracted a huge amount of attention, and perhaps a bit of opprobrium among Conservatives MPs. Not least because it seems that Downing Street was briefing the conference organisers that the Prime Minister was actually on his way to the event at midday on Friday. That proved, of course, to be either disinformation, misinformation or an outright whopping fib. Whatever the truth of this part of the story, it's no way to win friends.

Whatever the circumstances, the Prime Minister is in exalted company of non-runners at major conferences. The late mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, failed to give his speech at an Economic Club of Canada function at the city's  Hilton hotel. In fact he failed to appear at all until well after the event and most of the participants had left. His team claimed that he was stuck in an elevator, but others suggested he was afraid of public speaking.

Conference Speech Non-runners

And of course there was President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria who also failed to show up for an African Union conference speech in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2013. On that occasion the rumour was that the President was asleep or still tired and emotional from the night before.

So where was Prime Minister Johnson when he failed to show up for his Doncaster racecourse conference speech? He was in Ukraine. In Kiev. Offering support, training, money and armaments to President Zelenskiy. Graham Robb, who was hosting the Doncaster event noted:

We were expecting the Prime Minister. However it has just been confirmed within the last two minutes that he is in Kiev and making a second visit.
We understand that when you are dealing with a world statesman's diary, these kind of events come first.

It's very generous of Graham to label President Zelensky as a world statesman.

Top Tips When You Are The Star Attraction At A Conference

Here are a few tips for your next conference. Good luck.

  • Attend the event.
  • Aim to be at the event location on time and preferably well before time. It's always good manners to be kind to the conference organisers.
  • Be prepared and well-organised.
  • If illness or crisis prevents your attendance then give loads of notice beforehand. And, if you can, then assist with a replacement speaker.

If you have a conference speech in your schedule then you might find these tips for giving your conference speech handy. Because whatever happens, you don’t really want to follow the example of the non-running Prime Minister.

So, when you need further help and assistance with your public speaking skills, please do not hesitate to call.


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About the Author

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

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