22 June 2010

Harrriet Harman's reply to today's Budget: not bad, but still room for improvement

Having missed George Osborne's first budget speech since he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, I was rather suprised to discover that excerpts from Harriet Harman's reply as Leader of the Opposition had already been posted on YouTube before anything had appeared there from the Chancellor himself.

Earlier in the afternoon, I'd also noticed that there'd been a few comments on Twitter to the effect that she'd made rather a good job of it - with some suggesting she did well enough to make them wonder why she wasn't standing in the Labour leadership election.

And quite a lively performance it was too, though my initial reaction after a single viewing was that the pluses were outweighed by the minuses. Other anoraks may like to check the comments against the actual video.

  1. Excellent example of how effective 'yah-boo' politics can be in getting positive reactions from your supporters (for more on which, see HERE).
  2. Well crafted script with plenty of examples of using techniques like contrasts, rhetorical questions and imagery (e.g. the 'fig leaf' sequence) to attack the LibDems.
  1. Adapting Vince Cable's most famous line of attack on Gordon Brown came across as contrived and arguably unwise (unless, of course she wanted to remind people of the 'Stalin to Mr Bean' jibe in the second video below).
  2. Her eyes were more or less continuously glued to the text, with only the occasional split second glance away from it.
  3. Very little variation in pace and tone.
  4. Repetitive gesture with left hand became monotonous and distracting after a while.
  5. The pitch of her voice made me wonder whether, if she were to run for the full-time job of leader, she could benefit from some voice coaching along the lines of that undertaken by Mrs Thatche after she became leader of the Conservative Party (for more on which, see HERE).

The line Ms. Harman borrowed from Vince Cable's attack on Gordon Brown:

And, for a video of Gordon Brown adapting a line from Bill Clinton and the hazards of so doing, see HERE.

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