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Like a big lunch: the leader’s speech is too much to digest

12/10/2011, 01:44:21 PM

by Kevin Meagher

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hear Ed Miliband make a speech like that ever again. Not a criticism of the contents of his recent conference address in Liverpool – perish the thought – rather a call to scrap the whole palaver of the annual leader’s speech.

Well not really scrap, more a “refounding” of the whole idea. The current model has had its day. The annual hour-and-a-bit long, Tuesday afternoon speech has become stale and predictable. Not so much a shop window for Labour but a stock check. Visionary bit? Check. Thank-yous to unsung party heroes? Check. Anecdote about meeting a real person? Check. Emotional bit about own life? Check. Attack stuff? Check. Serious and inspirational bit? Check. Clap lines? Check. Gags? Check.

The overall effect is stodgy and lumpy. Like eating a big lunch, it becomes rather hard to digest and does little for your productivity for the rest of the day.

For next year, Ed should try something different. Some iconoclasts around him were said to have been arguing to do away with the annual ritual altogether, making a series of speeches around the country instead. Others say that we should follow the Tories and Lib Dems and store up the leader’s speech until the end of the week. (more…)

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