15 March 2011

Results of the defend a doomed dictator speechwriting competition

In case you're wondering what this is all about, you can catch up on the details here:

Results
And the (first-past-the-post) winner is .... Julien Foster for speech D (see below). Second is ... Bryn Williams for speech F (see below).

What clinched it for Mr Foster was that his final line made all three judges (and me) laugh.

Judges Collins and Finkelstein concluded: 'We thought E and D were amusing, which we thought was the right way to approach the contest. They were both funny and just plausible enough. But, if we had to choose between them, D just gets the nod for the simple yet inexplicable reason that the David Steel gag at the end really made us laugh.'

Judge Grender noted "Enjoyed all of these and laughed out loud at the thought of Gaddafi saying 'Go back to your constituencies – and prepare for government'. But in the end it was F who demonstrated the rhetorical flair that all good pupils of Max Atkinson (or avid readers of Lend Me Your Ears) aspire to. The use of 'wind' contrasted with 'fire' was great. The liberal use of 3-part sentences had echoes of the rhetoric of Obama's best not Gaddafi's worst. 'Step back' so we can 'march forward' gave it a nice strong ending. Have not as yet noticed an ad on Working for You for a new speech writer for Libyan dictator, but if one comes up you should most definitely send in your c.v."

Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to enter the contest by submitting such high quality speeches and to Phil Collins, Danny Finkelstein and Olly Grender for passing judgement on them.

Olly Grender will obviously be receiving a previously unannounced Brown Nose Award for weaving an advertisement for one of my books into her comments.

First Prize: Speech D by Julien Foster
Friends, Libyans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears.
I come to bury Colonel Gadaffi, not to praise him.

I’m not going to read to you from a document.
But speak to you from the heart.

I’m not going to address you in classical Arabic.
But talk to you in Libyan.

Above all, I’m not going to hide from you.
I’m going to say it as it is.
And it may be a bit messy. But it’ll be me.

We now have a huge opportunity for change.
It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

We’ve seen it happening in Egypt, in Tunisia…
…and now, here, in Libya.

Not change brought about by foreign governments.
Not change brought about by traitors.
But change brought about by us, the people.

And there are some who are trying to resist that change.
So I say to you very simply:
Go back to your constituencies – and prepare for government.


Second Prize: Speech F Mugabe's Last Stand by Bryn Williams
The West proclaim the winds of change blow through Africa once more.
They can't contain their pleasure.
Their smugness betrays them.
It clings to every word.

But these aren't the winds of change that blew in the past.
The winds which freed us from the bonds of slavery.
The winds which spared us from the blight of exploitation.
The winds which saved us from the suppression of our colonial masters.

These aren't winds founded on freedom or liberation.
These aren't winds at all.

These are fires.
Fires fuelled by exploitation.
Fires stoked by the resource thirsty tyrants of the West.
Fires lit to incinerate the fabric of our culture.

The West have learned that regime change doesn't work.
Afghanistan and Iraq have failed.
They have failed for two reasons.
Their cultures, like ours, are unsuited to democracy.
Their governments, unlike yours, are under Western control.

The West have learned that regime change doesn't work.
They are not prepared to risk it a third time.

Zimbabwe,
Believe me.
The West are not empowering a change of regime.
The West are implementing a change of policy.

A return to the policy of the past.
A return to the policy of exploitation.
A return to colonisation.

If controlling the government doesn't work,
become the government.

You are hearing whispers of a better future from people who are faceless.

You are not hearing firm declarations from the leaders of the future.
You are not hearing solid plans to deal with the problems of today.
You are not hearing robust proposals to pay off the debts of the past.

Why are there no leaders
no plans and
no money?

Because they don't exist.

The whisperers exist.
The rumour mongers exist.
Enemies always exist.

Waiting to exploit you,
your family,
and your future.

Whether we like it or not
this policy of African exploitation is a political fact.

So I ask you to take a moment,
take a deep breath,
and take a step back.

Take a step back from the future of their making.
So, together, we can march forward
to a future of our choosing.

1 comment:

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