A better fairer Britain. That was the theme of Gordon Brown’s Labour manifesto speech at the launch of the Labour Party’s 2010 election manifesto. Launching the manifesto, he spoke at a nearly-commissioned NHS hospital in the Edgbaston constituency. And it was there that he outlined three fundamental questions that needed answers:
Therefore, these questions and his answers became the main structure of the speech.
After that and in front of a selected audience of Party stalwarts and most of the Cabinet, Gordon Brown read his prepared speech with little deviation. Although he did overcome a few reading stumbles.
He carried the theme of fairness through the whole speech. So, we heard 20 mentions of the word “fair.”
Thus, the speech made excellent use of repetition. But, the best example was in the second half of the speech:
“This is the Britain of our commitment and vision.
It’s a Britain…
It’s a Britain…
It’s a Britain…
Finally, he combined this repetition at the close with a rhetorical questioning technique that also worked well:
“Which is the party of the family…?
Which is the party of making work pay…?
Which is the party of the NHS…?
Which is the party of growth and jobs…?
And which is the party of political reform…?
The answer is New Labour—the party with the plan for the future.”
His speech made sensible use of position takers, without referring to other political parties. So, this one worked with a reference to the Edgbaston NHS hospital in which Gordon Brown was speaking:
“For for those who say…Look at what, together, we have built — we didn’t just fix the roof — we built the entire hospital.”
All in all, this was a good well-delivered speech. But sentence lengths have a habit of running away in a Gordon Brown speech. This one was no exception:
“And that’s why we must build a Britain where no unemployed person can have a life time on the dole, but will have to accept work and where those who come here contribute to our country – but those who can’t or won’t don’t come, a Britain where anti-social behaviour and crime are dealt with quickly, where those who break the rules pay the price; and where, if you don’t get action, you can take out an injunction at the authority’s expense to secure the justice you need.”
Phew. Because these passages mark him out from his contenders for office and also from his predecessor in number 10. Since shorter sentences typically work better. Not least, because they are easier to read and they add up to effective public speaking. And, of course, an audience can grasp them more readily.
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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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