4 February 2013

Another extended press release disguised as a speech - and does it matter?

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Hardly ten days on from seeing David Cameron reading an extended press release on Europe as if it were 'a speech' to an audience (HERE) and we have Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. doing much the same thing at the offices of JP Morgan in Bournemouth earlier today.

As with the PM's speech, the absence of any coughing, sneezing or applause left me wondering whether there was an audience there at all and whether this is yet another example of a politician reading out a long-winded press release as if it were a speech.

So what?
My blog on this after Cameron's Europe speech prompted an interesting comment on Twitter from speechwriter Sam Coates (@SamuelCoates):

"re: Cameron speech lacking non-media audience, are you in danger of being too purist? Better a speech than press conf/release?"

To which I admitted that perhaps I was being rather too purist and asked "but are you conceding that it was a press release?"

"No" he tweeted "a well-articulated speech seen live by many not in the room. But admittedly not one that had to worry about claptraps etc!"

Speeches as press releases - and does it matter?
From this, it seems that Mr Coates is rather more relaxed about this trend than I am - which gets me wondering whether my unease about politicians reading out what are, in effect, extended press releases to non-partisan audiences is a further reflection of my advanced years (and the relative youthfulness of Mr Coates).

As I asked in my last blog on the subject, "are we going to have to put up with more and more such non-speeches as the stock-in-trade of contemporary political communication?" - to which I'd add "does it matter?"

I'd be glad to hear what others think...