With one bound he was free. Well, free for a while. Gordon Brown escaped relatively unscathed from his meeting with the Parliamentary Labour Party last night. However, some of the MPs who were at the meeting have emerged to tell the press that "Gordon will be changing his presentation style". Well I never. He's been in politics for most of his life, reached the highest office in the land,and it now appears that his presentation skills don't pass muster. His fellow MPs seem to think that better communication is the answer.
As a professional speaker, I look at speeches with a critical eye. There's no doubt that Gordon Brown is not a great orator. Comparisons are always invidious, but Barack Obama has won justified praise for his speeches and delivery. Unlike many of the great orators of the past, he often uses an autocue, and is still not completely comfortable "off script", but he's head and shoulders above Gordon.
The prime-minister-in-waiting, David Cameron, is a reasonable speaker, and I'd place him somewhere between Brown and Obama. Cameron's famous "no notes" speech to the Conservative Party Conference a couple of years ago was actually a piece of clever TV editing by the local director (every time there was a cutaway to the audience, Cameron consulted his notes). Nonetheless, his style is much better suited to delivering a message than Brown's.
Politics apart, Brown is a poor speaker. But I don't think communication training can save him now.