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David Stewart

6 The oratory of Michael Foot David Stewart Michael Foot is renowned as one of the outstanding British political orators of the twentieth century. An aptitude for public speaking was an invaluable asset for Foot’s generation of politicians, who were expected to adapt to a diverse range of political settings ranging from Parliament, party conferences and broadcast studios to open-air demonstrations and workplace meetings. Foot was one of the few Labour Party politicians who could lay claim to mastering all of these settings. His political career has been the

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
Robin T. Pettitt

9 The oratory of John Smith Robin T. Pettitt Introduction When exploring almost any aspect of John Smith’s political life there is a palpable sense of viewing a never to be completed work in progress. This makes him a difficult subject to deal with. Because his life was cut short just as he was about to reach the pinnacle of his career, very likely becoming Labour’s first prime minister in more than a decade and a half, his legacy as a politician is one of incompleteness. This sense of work in progress and incompleteness has an effect on how one approaches

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
Mark Bennister

10 The oratory of Tony Blair Mark Bennister A minimum to be expected from a political leader is the ability to make a few memorable remarks that seem to sum up what the leader and the party stand for, and the kind of meaning we might find in existence. (Horne, 2001: 101) Tony Blair led the Labour party for thirteen years, turned its fortunes around, and achieved the distinction of three successive general election victories – something that had eluded all his predecessors as Labour leader. If Blair’s party leadership were judged solely on electoral performance

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
David S. Moon

8 The oratory of Neil Kinnock David S. Moon Introduction: on hwyl Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentleman, can I begin by dismissing one rumour that is in the process of being born; I have never orated, at the breakfast table. (Kinnock, 2011) Whether or not Neil Kinnock the family man orated at the breakfast table, his biographers agree that oratory was at the heart of Neil Kinnock the politician. Kinnock, according to Robert Harris (1984: 12), is a man who ‘built his career on his talents as a speaker’, public speaking being his ‘greatest skill’ and his ‘voice’ his

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
Timothy Heppell and Thomas McMeeking

2 The oratory of Hugh Gaitskell Timothy Heppell and Thomas McMeeking The Labour leadership of Hugh Gaitskell between 1955 and 1963 was defined by three intra-party disputes – over Clause IV, unilateralism and the Common Market – and three speeches on these three seismic issues at the Labour Party annual conferences of 1959, 1960 and 1962 respectively (Minkin, 1978). His rhetoric in challenging the party constitution over Clause IV, and then his refusal to abide by the will of conference which had advocated unilateral nuclear disarmament, showcased his

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
Kevin Theakston

2 The oratory of Winston Churchill Kevin Theakston Introduction Winston Churchill has to be ranked as one of the greatest political orators, his wartime oratory regularly featuring in collections of the ‘great speeches of history’ and his style and rhetorical methods often used as the basis of ‘how to’ advice for budding speechmakers and business executives anxious to project the ‘language of leadership’ (Glover, 2011; Humes, 1991). He had a feel for words and great artistry in their use – ‘he gets the last ounce out of the English language’, it was once said

in Conservative orators from Baldwin to Cameron
Judi Atkins

11 The oratory of Gordon Brown Judi Atkins Gordon Brown entered Parliament as MP for Dunfermline East (later Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) in 1983. He rose quickly through the party ranks to become Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1987, and was soon marked out as a face for the future (Mandelson, 2010). Brown’s impressive parliamentary performances while filling in as Shadow Chancellor in 1988 dramatically increased his profile, and he was subsequently appointed to that position in July 1992. The sudden death of John Smith on 12 May 1994 triggered a

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
David S. Moon

4 The oratory of Barbara Castle David S. Moon Introduction: ‘battling’ Barbara Reporting on Tony Blair’s speech to the 1999 Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, Guardian sketch writer Simon Hoggart (1999) gave a typically snarky description of the speechifying of the then prime minister, or as he called him, ‘our very own Big Brother’: The Big Brother smiles a lot in a self deprecating kind of way. He uses ‘um’ and ‘well’ as a rhetorical device, to convince us he’s not reading out a prepared text, but needs to pause to work out exactly what he

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
Katharine Dommett

11 The oratory of Boris Johnson Katharine Dommett On paper Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or Boris as he is widely known and recognised, is largely indistinguishable from his senior Conservative colleagues. Like David Cameron he attended Eton and later Oxford, becoming a member of the exclusive Bullingdon Club alongside George Osborne. Like William Hague he became president of the Oxford Union Society. And like Michael Gove he elected for a career in journalism, working at The Times, the Spectator and the Telegraph (where he retains a column). Accordingly

in Conservative orators from Baldwin to Cameron
Brendan Evans

3 The oratory of Harold Macmillan Brendan Evans Harold Macmillan’s oratory is inextricably linked to his persona. His personality, style, oratory and rhetoric were each inter-connected and comprised his political craft. He was a self-conscious orator who critically analysed what he referred to as both the ‘matter and manner’ of his speeches. His education would have included Aristotle’s theories with its concepts of ethos, pathos and logos. Macmillan’s personality: image and reality Macmillan sedulously cultivated his speaking style as an extension of his

in Conservative orators from Baldwin to Cameron