Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Brown's speech and what it means for next week...

Off on business for a couple of days and so don't have time for anything detailed on Brown's speech yesterday so just a couple of observations and one thought for Cameron and the Conservatives next week.
  • The style and delivery of the speech echoes the themes I and other have been highlighting about how Brown will pitch himself against Cameron - casting himself as the substantive option, acknowledging he can be overly serious but refusing to apologise, leaving the faux emotions and man-of-the-people stunts to others.
  • The speech was clearly prime-ministerial and statesman-like and all but the most partisan observer would acknowledge that the mantle of PM rests well on Gordon's shoulders. It's perfectly possible to take serious issue with most of the policy content and still acknowledge as much.
So, crass though it may be to distil a single lesson from Brown's speech for the Conservatives next week I'm going to do it anyway - the assault on character, 'wrong-man' theme aimed at sowing public discontent with Brown is wrongheaded and counter-productive. He clearly isn't the awkward, geeky character many on the right hoped he would be nor the old-school socialist ready to cave in to internal pressure - and you can't make him so just by saying it a lot.

Also, while there may not have been one 'killer moment' in the speech that left Tory strategists with their head in their hands yesterday, there was a feature of the speech that should worry everybody at CCHQ - he completely ignored Cameron and the Tories, not a single mention. This plays to the 'above the fray' theme and echoes a common technique beloved of incumbent US Presidents running for a second term - don't even engage your opponent because that dignifies them and elevates them as potential successor.

As a sitting Premier of course and someone at the head of a party that's been in power for a decade Brown can get away with this - it would be unreasonable for an opposition leader not to have something to say on the government they're trying to displace and I'm not suggesting Cameron tries it next week (although it'd be some feat if he could). But, as per my observation above about how fruitless the 'wrong-man' theme is, Cameron's speech next week needs to be 95% on the future, what distinguishes his brand of conservatism from Labour and the Lib Dems and what he would actually do as PM - the odd passing reference to some of Gordon's less impressive moments is fine but if the speechwriters are crafting a character assassination it could backfire spectacularly.


At 9:19 AM , Newmania said...

What about what he didn`t say .

TAX...One word
English Parliament - No words
EU Constitution- No words
Civil Liberties - No words
Localism - No words
Individual Freedom- No words
Blair( ie last ten years )- 3 words
Britain 80 words( Scotland 3 words)
Crime - No new Powers
Unions - Supportive
Equality of opportunity is not enough...long passage ( ie redistribution through taxation)
Jokes - None
Other Parties - Do not exist
Marriage - No support
Immigration- Nothing new
References to himself his acheivement his hard work his many qualites endless and he is repeating that lie that he went blind playing rugby . In fact he went blind writing adolescent plots to rule the world in tedious and long winded detail under the bedclothes.

You may like him but I detest this fraud with his conjuring show . Money for the services( that comes out of their budget). Don`t attack him rancorously no but link his statist centralsing failed policies with the bullying self important gnarled old liar.

Does he remind you of Nixon ? Does me .

At 11:37 PM , Cassilis said...

C'mon NM - a speech by a party leader (and certainly PM) needs to resonate across the apolitical masses, the people who have only the shallowest of interest in politics and no particular party affiliation. By all accounts (not to mention the polls) Brown's speech did this, as have others he's made while in office.

A speech built around the themes of taxation, an English Parliament and the EU Constitution may excite politicos like you but if you seriously think it would have any resonance with the wider public your grasp of the UK political lansdscape is pretty poor.

Here's a challenge - over at Newmania why not write your version of what Cameron's speech should be next week? I don't mean just the themes or topics, I mean write it as though you were the speechwriter - word for word what you'd like him to say.

That'll test you...!


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