Miliband New Generation Speech Echoes Predecessor

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Sep 28

Acceptance speeches are typically hurried and poorly planned. The exception to the rule? Political acceptance speeches.

In contrast to his brother David’s speech, which went unopened on Saturday afternoon, Ed Miliband’s speech was clearly well-planned and constructed.

There were two main themes to his speech at the Labour Party conference in Manchester. First, a thank you to everyone. And second, a vision for the future.

His thanks were numerous and extended to all the leadership contestants, their workers and supporters, former leaders and his family.

His thank you technique sounds very much like the listing techniques used by Gordon Brown. They were used in his election night speech in 2010 and his May 2010 resignation speech. For example:

“And I want to thank…

And I want to thank some people…

I want to thank my constituency party of Doncaster North…

And I also want to thank…

And I want to thank Gordon Brown…”

The same listing technique is used elsewhere where a series of sentences begin with the word, “and”.

“And I say this to you…”

“And do you know what?…”

“And I will do my job…”

This technique is very reminiscent of Gordon Brown speeches…and can become tedious without the right tone in the voice.

He extended the technique when he moved beyond the thank you stage of his speech to talk about his vision for the future:

“And my message to the country is this…

And I say I get it…

And let me tell you what I believe…

I get it…

I get it…

I get it…

I get it…”

He then took the same technique and forged ahead with a vision:

“I know…

I know that we have to change…

And let me tell you what I believe. I believe we must reduce the deficit. But I believe we must do so much more than that..

I do believe this country…

I do believe that there are…

And I believe we must have a society that…

I believe also we need a different type of politics in this country…

I believe in Britain.”

These lists worked. Beyond the listing and repetition techniques throughout his speech other rhetorical devices stalled.

He tried a phrase reversal that seemed a bit messy:

“You have put your trust in me and I am determined to repay that trust to you.”

And a classic not this, bu that phrase also petered out:

“Not power for its own sake. But to make this country the more prosperous…”

But he’s got some time ahead to work on these.

His conclusion sewed up the threads with further mention of the “new generation.” In fact there were four instances of “new generation” throughout the speech:

“Today the work of the new generation begins.”

A well-worked speech from a speaker with much to do…including, perhaps, shaking off the rhetorical techniques of his predecessor.

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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+

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