Amid the glitz and glamour of Party conferences, the Leader’s Speech is the high point of the week, a culmination of hours of toil to craft key messages to influence multiple audiences. In the first of a two-parter I assess the Prime Minister’s performance in Brighton, seeking to answer: did Gordon Brown cut it?
The media predictably lead their Leader’s speech analysis with appropriate cliché’s such as ‘he appealed to the core vote in the Hall’ or more likely ‘he was appealing to the core vote outside of the Hall’. Whichever the direction of his message Mr Brown filled his near sixty minute oration with short, punchy, phrases ramming home the seriousness of his intent. Helpfully the Daily Mirror has done a word count of the most-used words with ‘Britain’ leading the way, closely followed by ‘new’ and then ‘people’.
However Mr Brown’s best used rhetorical device is alliteration with that of hyphenated words that the listener/watcher believes is about them. For example we heard of ‘the modesty and morals of middle income families’ we observed the ‘challenge of change’, and of ‘fairness and responsibility’, and most of all we heard about ‘hard-pressed’ and ‘hard-working’ families. And like the much lauded speech of Peter Mandelson the day before, the Prime Minister also personalised his message with his equivalent of ‘I’m a fighter not a quitter’.
So perhaps all is not lost for Mr Brown if the rhetoric chimes with the electorate? Alas, but a few hours after the hall stopped echoing with the sounds of Mr Brown’s oratory, the Sun newspaper delivered it’s own verdict: Labour’s lost it.
With such backing surely all David Cameron has to do next week is turn-up, look and sound statesmanlike and bask in the applause. We’ll see, part two next week.