With only weeks to go before a General Election politicians from all parties need to make themselves heard. For George Osborne, the Conservative 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 his team would implement. effectively reasons to be cheerful. He began well, noting that there were “less than 70 days” to go before a General Election. He repeated the phrase twice and then used the same phrase twice in his conclusion. A good use of repetition.
But the pedant in me just hates “less than 70 days.” “Fewer than 70 days” would be better!
His beginning noted that choices had to be made. Likening these choices with those that had to be made in 1979 was a simple public speaking manoeuvre. It suits George and his colleagues to compare themselves with the reformists of the Thatcher administration. In truth, there’s a gulf of difference.
His focus on the failings of Gordon Brown, ex-Chancellor and Prime Minister was relentless. And, with more reasons to be cheerful. he raised a laugh when he noted the apparent spat between the Prime Minister and the current Chancellor; particularly the Prime Minister’s refusal to confirm that Mr Darling would still be Chancellor if Labour was to win:
“If Gordon Brown wins, he will go down in history.
He’ll be the first person to deliberately choose Ed Balls as his next door neighbour.”
Then, he aimed for some topicality in a week that saw Andy Serkis and his new film, “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” up for a BAFTA award. “So let me give you Reasons to be Cheerful.” Topical and cheeky, but probably lost on his Brighton audience.
Reaching his conclusion the shadow chancellor used a position taker to reinforce the gulf between him and the Prime Minister:
“The Prime Minister unleashes the forces of hell.
I want us to unleash the forces of enterprise.”
Clever and topical. His conclusion raised the temperature, albeit I once again took exception to…”Less than 70 days.”
You can discover plenty of reasons to be cheerful with your own public speaking and our tips for speakers, podcasts and videos. And, when you want to boost your own public speaking skills then please don’t hesitate to get in touch when the time is right.
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