In News

Hit or Miss: Was Theresa May’s conference address the worst leader’s speech ever?

Posted by: on Oct 4, 2017 | No Comments

The Prime Minister’s speech contained a mea culpa for her mistakes in the General Election and several surprise policy announcements but it is likely to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.My comment for PR Week.

“It is every public speaker’s worst nightmare, a voice cracking and constant coughing fits.  But add to that a comedian with a P45 as well as a dodgy stage, and you had a speech that will have left people feeling sorry for her.  It made for deeply uncomfortable viewing at times.

This was meant to be the start of Mrs May’s attempt to fight back and she was at her strongest when she talked about tackling injustice.  The speech tried to remind her party about what they liked about her only last year when she became leader, and it did that well to begin with, but it also felt like she was reminding herself as well at times.

The speech was a robust defence of the free market.  But the main policy announcements on housing and energy price caps contradicted this.  Both are direct, state interventions in the free market to address perceived longstanding failures.  It is also far from clear that the British public are in love with the free market at the moment.

Evoking the ‘British Dream’ has been tried before by others.  Blair and Brown talked about British values but Michael Howard made getting the dream back on track a priority for his first 100 days as PM that never happened.

Mrs May didn’t hang around long at the end of the speech and it is still not clear how long she will hand around as PM.”



Leave a Reply