New Year, New Speech, New Miliband?

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Jan 11

New Year’s speeches signal a new start. A new resolution. And that’s just what Ed Miliband wanted with his New Year speech.

Yes, he only gave it yesterday, but it’s a new beginning. At least that was how it was billed beforehand.

He used his speech at the Oxo Tower in London to outline ten policies that a government of his choosing would adopt. Reading from a prepared script his speech was characterised by exaggerated pauses and some very short sentences:

And what are the Government doing about it?



And it’s not just transport we need change.

Take energy.

Everyone here today who has enjoyed Christmas and New Year with their family has had the central heating on.

But it’s expensive.

His introduction thanked Citizens UK for all their good work, confirmed their values and then noted how he shared these very same values. This worked as a good introduction to a difficult speech.

Speaking in slow, measured tones he used a series of position taking statements to confirm his starting point:

A lot of people say:

“These are tough times. It’s easy to talk about fairness, but how are you going to achieve it when there’s less money around?”

This led to:

The Labour Party stands for fairness and fighting injustice.

With his position, and that of the Labour party settled, the Leader of the Opposition set about his rebuttal of the Coalition government and an outline of his ten policy measures.
His short sentences favoured repetition and he delivered:

More unfair.

More unequal.

More unjust.

And in case we missed the list, his speech also helped out his audience with a list structure:

That means three new ways of delivering fairness in difficult times.

First, reforming our economy so we have long-term wealth creation with rewards fairly shared.

Second, acting against vested interests that squeeze the living standards of families.

And third, making choices that favour the hard-working majority.

This proved to be a well-constructed speech with solidity and purpose:

Does anyone doubt that people are feeling squeezed?

The price of food is going up.

The price of gas and electricity is going up.

And the price of getting around, getting to work is going up

His peroration was robust and well-written–as was the whole speech.

What is your vision for this country?

This Government doesn’t have one.

But we do.

Because we understand that a responsible economy is also a stronger, growing economy.

Our vision is for an economy based on sustainable wealth creation.

Where rewards are more fairly shared.

Where we take on the vested interests that squeeze people’s living standards.

Where we stand up for the hard-working majority with the choices we make.

That is the basis on which Labour will govern.

That is what Labour stands for.

That is where Labour stands.

We heard some horrors (“Labour can still deliver fairness in these tough times” and “I say: Bring it on.”) in this well-constructed speech.

But it’s his speech delivery that’s going to need more work. Somehow there’s a flatness to the delivery, a sense that the passion isn’t there. Those in the know confirm his passion, but most of us aren’t in the know.

We can expect that his team will be working on his speech tone, the tonal variation and the uplift at the end of his sentences.


Yes, Please

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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+