26 September 2010

Ed Miliband "gets it" in his bid to bond with the brethren

A problem for Oxford-educated Labour leaders is how to bond with the masses in general and the core vote in particular.

Harold Wilson did it by retaining enough traces of a Yorkshire accent to sound like 'one of them'.

In interviews and chat shows, Tony Blair occasionally (and rather unconvincingly) lapsed into 'Estuary English', inserting glottal stops at points where he would more usually have used a perfectly enunciated 't' sound.

Glo'al stops in Donny?
Having spent five years at school in Doncaster, I've often wondered how the town's most famous MP, having been parachuted into a safe seat by the Labour Party high command, was managing to get along with the locals.

One thing I'd already noticed was that Ed Miliband seems even keener than Tony Blair on glottle stops. You'll hear quite a few of them in this clip, even though they're quite alien to the regional accent in that part of South Yorkshire - where the sound is typically heard as proof that the speaker must be 'a bloody Southerner.'

"I get it..."
In yesterday's leadership acceptance speech (which can be seen in full HERE), another ploy was on show with the repetitive use of contemporary youthful jargon, in which the verb "to get" is preferred to more traditional verbs like to understand, to know or to appreciate - six times in a row in this particular sequence.

Now that Mr Miliband has got it (by which I mean, in case there's any ambiguity, the leadership of the Labour Party), it will be interesting to see whether he's got any more such folksy devices up his sleeve as he bids to bond with the broader masses.

video

Also of possible interest:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wondered whether anyone else was finding EMs speech irritating. Glottal stops are so last century anyway - the current fashion is to overemphasise the terminal consonant after an irritating pause.