12 October 2011

Thinking Paper #148: Political speeches - some research‏

By Ron Ford Golightly


The IIPBA watched Liam Fox's statement earlier this week with a nagging feeling that something was missing. We came to the realisation that it was Liam Fox. The same feeling struck us as we watched three weeks worth of politicians saying things on our TVs. They were absent behind the eyes. The IIPBA dun some research.

The research

We asked 1,000 people "who are the best political speakers in the country at the moment?" 1,000 people responded with a really long silence and then a polite "excuse me I've got to get home for tea."

The analysis

1.) The gradual bureaucratisation (booooo) of politics, means that politicians read speeches written for them by somebody else. Usually, a young whipper snapper of a high flying civil servant who has forgotten how to emote.

2.) This leads to politicians being made to feel that they're not real political leaders, but rather heads of large bureaucracies (booooo) or better still, actors reading from a really boring film script.

3.) The consequences are that they drift and they plod, extremely bored, through pages upon pages of bureaucrats' (booooo) handy work. They're bored, we're bored, even Kay Burley is bored.

4.) This has led to speech writers looking to add ‘rhetoric’ into a speech, such as using real people's names, to make them look like they know how humans talk (e.g."I met a black person called Clive the other week and he told me that immigration levels are too high...") .

The result

Our beloved leaders delivering speeches that, at one level, are boring, solid stuff and, at another level, cheap rhetoric.

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