4 October 2011

Swim or sink with the president of the European Commission


Preparing for speechwriting course in Brussels this week, I thought it would be nice to include an example of a 'local' using some of the main rhetorical techniques in one of my demo tapes.

Such are the wonders of YouTube that it took less than a minute to find this little gem from the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, which had been singled out for replaying in a news report on his 'state of the union' speech:

REPORTER: He said Europe has to move forward towards matching its monetary union with a real economic union among its member states:

PUZZLE: This is Europe's moment of truth.

SOLUTION: Europe must show that its more than 37 different national solutions.

CONTRAST (with swimming metaphor + alliteration): We either swim together or sink separately.

Not surprisingly, this selection of key rhetorical techniques worked well enough for it to be singled out by the media as a sound bite - but it didn't impress everyone.

Guess who doesn't want to be seen clapping
British readers may be interested to see that, of the five MEPs shown just before Mr Barroso starts speaking, the only one who doesn't join in with the applause is none other than Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP (the UK Independence Party).

Whether or not you're one of his supporters or opponents, it has to be admitted that his behaviour here is admirably consistent with his long-standing antipathy towards the EU.

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