The oratory of Harold Macmillan
in Conservative orators from Baldwin to Cameron
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Macmillan’s oratory is closely linked to the persona which he developed to appeal both within the Conservative Party and to communicate with the wider electorate. His manner of speaking across all arenas was cultivated to harmonise with the political personality that he presented. His true personality differed from the unflappability that he displayed in public although his style of speech was designed specifically to reinforce the cultivated nonchalance of his political personality. The Edwardian personality that Macmillan portrayed was a great strength but later became a liability. His style symbolised a great nation and served the needs of for a time his party and country, neither of which were ready to confront Britain’s declining world power and status. Nonetheless, without a resort to demagoguery he healed internal party divisions and for a while he exemplified the Conservative Party’s skill of appealing, on a behalf of a still socially exclusive party, to a mass electorate.


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