The oratory of John Major
in Conservative orators from Baldwin to Cameron
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The Conservative administrations that John Major led were so convulsed by governing incompetence and party infighting that he was an easy target for putdowns. He himself was never to deliver the type of classic parliamentary sound-bites that were used against him by his principal opponents, such as John Smith (‘a devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government’) or Tony Blair (‘I lead my party...he follows his’). He was not a stirring orator who could fire of the emotions of Conservative members, but nor did he claim that he could. His central political appeal, which had propelled him to the party leadership after the leadership cult that was Thatcher, was his status as a team player. Nonetheless, Major was to deliver some notable oratorical moments in his Prime Ministerial tenure, whether at conference; in the heat of parliamentary combat, or through the wider media.


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