Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Speechwatch: David Cameron, Conservative Party Conference 2011

David Cameron was 25 minutes late starting, giving rise to speculation that he was doing a last-minute rewrite. He added in a "joke" about "catgate", which fell flat, like all politicians attempting humour.

He seemed confused about whether it's a Conservative Government or a Coalition Government, and used the terms randomly. In some sections he seemed to be positioning the Conservatives as more socialist that Labour. He called them the "part of the NHS" which I'm sure raised a few eyebrows nationally.

His regular speech patterns were in evidence "Let me say this.." "I'd like to say.." They weren't in the text of the speech, so are clearly part of his delivery style. He didn't over-excite the audience, and it was hardly his best speech. It was fairly subdued, possibly to match the national mood. He looked and sounded tired for much if the speech. 

I suspect that the re-writes and the media reaction overnight to the early briefings may have knocked the stuffing out of the speech to some extent. There were a few strong patches, but not as many as the audience probably hoped for. There were no major (or even minor) gaffes, but I doubt that any of the phrases will live long in the memory.

His delivery was faltering and hoarse to begin with (possibly the reason for delay). It built to a crescendo late in the speech and finished in strong. Not the greatest speech, but competent enough.

He can do much better. I'd rate it six out of ten.

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