An impromptu speech by International Trade Secretary, Dr. Liam Fox, has raised both hackles and eyebrows.
His impromptu speech at a meeting of the Conservative Way Forward group has managed to annoy and surprise.
Quite a result for a private speech made at the Thatcherite activists meeting in central London.
You can see why some business people might be annoyed. Because they definitely are annoyed at being labelled fat and lazy.
"This country is not the free-trading nation it once was. We have become too lazy, and too fat on our successes in previous generations."
Ah, yes. But he wasn't talking about a national obesity crisis. Because that's someone else's brief.
What is the point of us reshaping global trade, what is the point of us going out and looking for new markets for the United Kingdom, if we don't have the exporters to fill those markets?
That's a fair point. Because it makes sense if it's true. If it's true, of course.
And, he went further.
Companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity - but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or because they can't play golf on a Friday afternoon - we've got to be saying to them if you want to share in the prosperity of our country you have a duty to contribute to the prosperity of our country.
So, now you can see why people were surprised by this impromptu speech. We have a duty to export. A duty to send our products and services overseas! What's next on the agenda when it comes to duty we might wonder.
A duty to ensure the good doctor keeps taking his pills, probably? Of course, he's no stranger to controversy. He was ejected from the Coalition Government in 2011. Consequently his speeches, impromptu or not, will be looked at very closely.
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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+
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