Nuts. Harman Apologises for Ginger Rodent Speech

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Nov 01

Deputy Leader of the Labour party, Harriet Harman, was left red-faced about a red-haired remark she made in a speech last week. The former Equalities Minister was speaking at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in Oban, when she labeled the Liberal Democrat MP Danny Alexander a “ginger rodent.”

Danny Alexander is also the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Liberal Democrat MP most closely linked with the Government’s programme of cuts.

The Party realised that she’d made an error in her speech. And she subsequently apologised. We are left feeling, however, that she knew she had said too much in her speech when she considered the mass of Scottish redheads in her Conference audience. Her apology wasn’t about hard feelings it was all about political expediency and the Scottish vote.

The speed of the apology is disappointing. Seasoned politicians of today are certainly no match for those of yesterday as these speech quotes highlight:

“Peter Mandelson shook hands with Mickey Mouse and noticed he was wearing a Harriet Harman watch.” (William Hague)

“…like being savaged by a dead sheep.” (Denis Healey on Geoffrey Howe)

“An empty taxi arrived at 10 Downing Street, and when the door was opened, Attlee got out.” Winston Churchill on Clement Attlee)

Now that was when political correctness didn’t get in the way of a good jibe…and the speaker was certainly not red-faced about making it!

Yes, Please

Get The Newsletter Today

Telling It Straight is our very own public speaking tips newsletter. Packed with skills tips to help you with your next speech, why not receive it this month?


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+