It's not often you that you come across a Christmas classic, let alone a cracker, in the Palace of Westminster. Yet the Loyal Address is often the source of some really good material. In the past of course we've heard some classics such as that of Penny Mordaunt MP. So, we listened to the Loyal Address after this Christmas Queen's Speech with some trepidation. But, we weren't disappointed. Because this Tracey Crouch Loyal Address was both a classic and a cracker.
Of course it really does help to have a December election behind you. Right behind you. Because Tracey was able to mine a repertoire of Christmas social devices: pantomime, Charles Dickens and conviviality.
And this Tracey Crouch Loyal Address certainly mixed all three. Plus a lot more. Clearly she needed to get the formalities out of the way. And she did that quickly and effectively with a sentence or two. And then we heard the comedic combination of pantomime, self-deprecation and subtle jibes at her Parliamentary colleagues.
This speech is usually a gift reserved by the Whips for those thought to have had their best times. The Chief Whip, a man well known for his elegance, charm and wit, has clearly clocked that it is panto season, for asking me to do this speech is the equivalent of shouting, “Your career is behind you!” [Hon. Members: “Oh no it isn’t.”] I think we can do a bit better than that and, frankly, I would feel a bit more reassured if the Prime Minister could join in. The Chief, a man well known for his elegance, charm and wit, has clearly clocked that it is panto season, for asking me to do this is the equivalent of shouting, “Your career is behind you.” [Hon. Members: “Oh no it isn’t!] [Laughter.]
Tremendous. And of course her pantomime reference wasn't yet done. Oh, no it wasn't.
Instead of “Cinderella” or “Puss in Boots”, let us raise the literary tone and note that today is the anniversary of “A Christmas Carol” being published in 1843. Charles Dickens was a son of Chatham, so this old has-been speech makes me feel like the ghost of Christmas past; my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall North (Eddie Hughes) will presently play the ghost of Christmas future; and the Prime Minister is oven ready for the role of the ghost of Christmas present.
When you want to open your speech with style, then your use of such good historical references is always bound for success. Oh, yes it is. Clearly it's very useful to have the anniversary of the 1843 publication of "A Christmas Carol" to hand. And it's also useful to represent the Chatham constituency where Charles Dickens spent his formative years. When you aren't allowed to use props in the Commons chamber, then public speaking anecdotes and crutches are invaluable. And Tracey Crouch made excellent use of these to weave her narrative.
So we heard some excellent references to her own Chatham constituency, Kent and the pervasive themes of poverty, development and redemption that feature in the Charles Dickens novel, "A Christmas Carol" (among many others, of course). And these references allowed her to promote many of the major initiatives outlined by the Government in the Queens Speech. Good work.
In the conclusion to this superb Tracey Crouch Loyal Address, she once again turned to Charles Dickens and conviviality. And that's a technique you can also follow when you wrap up your own speech.
Chatham’s hero, Dickens, may have been a great social reformer, but he also observed that there is nothing in this world so irresistible as laughter and good humour. Perhaps that would be no bad guide for us, as we repair this House of Commons in the coming months. Let laughter and good humour replace recent rancour; let friendships thrive through adversity; and let us respect our differences but not let them divide us. And of course, let Tottenham finish above Arsenal in the league this year. As I finish my humble offering to Her Majesty, I take this opportunity to wish colleagues and all the hard-working House staff a very merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and a peaceful holiday season. In the words of Tiny Tim at the end of “A Christmas Carol”, God bless us everyone!
Simple, yet finely crafted in a neat 12 minute package. Well done.
When you need to craft your own speech or inject some humour in your conference speech, you can always discover plenty of public speaking tips from Time to Market. Because with more than 100 tips for speakers and effective presentation tips, there's something for every event. And whilst we aren't in the same league as Charles Dickens, we do keep things short and sharp. But should you want to take your own public speaking skills that bit further, then please don't hesitate to get in touch about skills training and coaching.
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