Thursday, October 08, 2009

David Cameron's Conference Speech Analysed

And so to the final set-piece party leader's speech before the election. After a 15 minute delay and a video message from Bono (yes, Bono - looking to support a potential winner), David Cameron appeared.

He started in sombre mood, almost like a wartime speech. There was a strong emphasis on war for the first few minutes - praise for Liam Fox, and a "War Cabinet". He thanked his shadow cabinet colleagues, and made a poignant reference to the son he lost.

The speech continued in serious mode, with Cameron talking about the "gravity of the situation". The applause was muted as the sombre tone continued with the tough medicine being administered early.

As for a theme, he used the phrase "big Government" over and over again, in order to attack it (and therefore Labour). He received great applause for a line about "96 per cent tax rates for the poor", and referred t Labour as "arrogant".

There were plenty of mentions of policy, and which shadow cabinet member would take which role. He had some nice sound bites "We must stop treating adults like children and children like adults"

Of all the three leaders' speeches, this one had the most obvious theme, and also the most serious tone. Although the audience were less enthusiastic than at previous Tory conferences, I'd judge this to be a better than average leader's speech.

It wasn't a barnstorming speech, by any means - that's not his style. He stated his disagreement with "Big Government" and his approval of "Family, Community, Country".

He built to a strong finish, but I was left with the impression that the audience in the hall were a bit bemused. Of the three party leaders, I'd give Clegg first place, Cameron second and Brown third in terms of speaking expertise.

But Cameron did enough.

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