31 March 2011

Ed Miliband makes a better speech - but could do with a better backdrop

In case anyone thinks I'm sometimes too critical of Ed Miliband, I'd like to put it on record that I thought his speech today was a much better effort than the one he made at the cuts demo a few days ago (for comment on which, see HERE).

But why on earth do his aides set things up with members of the audience sitting in the background? Margaret Thatcher was the first British politician to realise that it's much safer to have no one visible on the platform with you.

After a party conference speech in which opponents from the far left kept shaking their heads and looking cross at what Neil Kinnock was saying, he quickly followed suit and spoke from a suitably isolated lectern.

Admittedly, there's no head-shaking here, let alone yawning - as happened on several occasions when John Major spoke with audiences behind him. But they can hardly be said to be looking very enthused by what Mr Miliband is saying.

If, as I've seen argued elsewhere, the reason for having part of the audience visible is to show what a representative bunch of supporters you have, all I'd say is that this sample strikes me as being a bit lacking in people from diverse age and ethnic groups.


Jon said...

I've always thought of the "backdrop audience" technique as an American style of, yes, supposedly demonstrating diversity by being able to find one or two people from each required group. Always seems staged and potentially misleading to me, with the risk of bored people bringing down the energy of video recording.

Perhaps it has been found to make an impact however? How do you reach an objective assessment?

Anonymous said...

I think he was much better with the use of rhetoric on this occasion, though (and I say that as a Tory). Nice use of triads, and triads within triads, and of course contrasts.