Wednesday, October 02, 2013

#CPC13 Conference Speechwatch 2013 - David Cameron, Conservative

David Cameron delivered his fifty-minute response to Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg (but mostly Ed Milliband) at a lectern in the Manchester conference hall. Gone was the barnstormimg in-the-round no notes speech of years past, replaced by a statesmanlike delivery. Somewhat surprisingly (to me at least), he delivered some of his lines directly into the TV camera, straight towards the voters at home. That's unusual for a political leader, and sometimes appears desperate. However, he got away with it.

There were 26 mentions of Labour, few of the LibDems and none of Nick Clegg. There was no mention of UKIP. It was clear where his target was. The first time he mentioned his opponents, he used the phrase "the mess that Labour left" which I suspect was no accident. He tends to deliver in short, sharp sentences, which are not sentences at all, simply phrases. Some of his phrases had an odd message. For example, he said  Michael Gove is "a cross between Mr Chips and the Duracell bunny". I'm still trying to work that one out.

One of the repeated phrases, appearing in every topic, was "land of opportunity", presumably as a counter to "Britain is better than this" from Ed Miliband last week.

He tried humour, but like almost every politician, didn't have them rolling in the aisles. He made a reference to pictures of him looking a bit portly on holiday. He directed a comment to Ed Miliband "I'll keep my shirt on if you keep the lights on". He also mentioned "Red Ed and his Blue Peter policies". Hardly a rib-tickler.

He delivered well, and has developed a distinctive, choppy style that delights his audience. However, applause was often muted. He still has the verbal tic common to politicians "Let me say this". A standing ovation for the armed forces lasted almost a minute, but Mr Cameron asked people to stand.

He finished with a rousing piece of on-theme anaphora "Together we've made it this far, together we'll finish the job we've started, together we'll build that land of opportunity."

Overall, a competent performance. No rousing elements, no cheers, but plenty of solid points. Far from being his best speech, but perfectly workmanlike. I'd score him six out of ten.

1 comment:

Simon Ellinas said...

The reason he was looking at the camera was because he was reading the auto cue. I was there in the auditorium and watched the whole thing.