2 October 2009

Reading between the lines of 'Labour Vision'

In 1981, John Heritage and I video-recorded (on Betamax) the entire broadcast output of the three main party conferences, colleting a data base of about 500 speeches.

Today, the internet has not only made life much easier for rhetoric and oratory anoraks like me, but it can occasionally throw up some intriguing surprises, an example of which sprang out at me this morning.

Looking back on this year's Labour Party conference, I thought I'd have a look at some videos of speeches by likely candidates for the leadership when Gordon Brown (or the electorate) finally decides it's time for him to go.

The most obvious place to look was the 'Labour Vision' collection on YouTube, which is presumably put there by the party itself.

I've already mentioned the idea of 'noticeable absences' in relation to this year's speeches by Nick Clegg and Peter Mandelson. But here, on 'Labour Vision' there's another very noticeable absence - of three likely candidates for the leadership when the time comes.

'Labour Vision' will let you watch this year's conference speeches by Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Harriet Harman, Jack Straw, Alan Johnson, Alistair Darling, Hilary Benn, Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper.

But notable by their absence are the speeches by three of the younger generation of likely leadership contenders: Andy Burnham, David Miliband and Ed Balls.

This raises some interesting questions:
  1. Why they are these three missing?
  2. Who decided to omit them from the menu on 'Labour Vision'
  3. Is someone trying to tell us that Miliband junior and Mrs Balls are ahead of Miliband senior and Mr Balls in the leadership stakes?
  4. Or could it be that none of them are considered good enough communicators to risk broadcasting their speeches to a wider audience?
It would be nice if someone in the Labour Party could tell us, but I don't suppose they will.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating. He's articulate and unnecessarily defensive. Pause and humour would have given him more power.