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May 2013 | Volume 12

The Speechwriter
Newsletter of the UK Speechwriters' Guild incorporating

MASTERCLASS by Peggy Noonan

Welcome to the twelfth Don’t be sophisticated. Be
edition of The Speechwriter commonsensical. Speeches
newsletter. The purpose of actually have to say things. And
great speeches are great because
this publication is to circulate
they say great things. Speeches
examples of excellent speeches to that consist merely of the
members of the UK Speechwriters’ stringing together of pretty words
Guild. We do this by picking out and pretty sentiments are not
openings, closings, one-liners great, and never live.
and quotations and other topical
extracts from newspapers and the
internet to identify techniques,
stimulate your imagination and
F ormer White House
speechwriter, Peggy Noonan,
“A great speech
provide models which you can
wrote a book called How to Give a
Good Speech. She has some unusual
is literature”
emulate. recommendations for speechwriters.

An appropriate speech is one that Good hard simple words with

This newsletter appears
doesn’t call particular attention good hard clear meanings are
quarterly and is available to good things to use when you
anyone who is a Standard to itself. There’s the Coco Chanel
story - she said that if a woman speak. They are like pickets in a
Member of the UK Speechwriters’
walks into a room wearing one fence, slim and unimpressive on
Guild or the European of her dresses and everyone their own but sturdy and effective
Speechwriter Network. says: ‘What a dress!’ then she has when strung together.
failed. But if the woman walks
People like short digressions,
into the room and people say, ‘Oh,
they’re a short stop on a long
you look fabulous,’ then she has
succeeded. You want people to
say after hearing you, ‘She’s very
Use humour where you can. Why?
Contribute intelligent, she made some really
Because it makes people laugh.
interesting points,’ Not, ‘Oh, what
Every quarter we award No one ever left a speech saying,
an interesting speech.’
the Demosthenes Pebble (£25
‘He was too witty,’ or ‘I hated the
way she made me laugh out loud.’
Amazon token) for an outstanding Once you’ve finished a first draft
speech. Please send your of your speech - stand up and
Reading is the collection of
speak it aloud. Where you falter,
speeches to: intellectual income; writing the
spending of it. You need to read
to write, you need to take in other
8 No speech should last more
people’s words and thoughts and
than twenty minutes: Hubert
images. If you want to be a good
Humphrey’s wife is said to have
conversationalist, you must both
advised him: ‘Darling, for a speech
talk and listen; if you want to be a
to be immortal it need not be
good writer, you must both read
and write.

The Speechwriter May 2013 | Volume 12 2

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

BOOK REVIEWS Most provocatively, Shosky claims The Biteback Dictionary

that great speeches “bring out the
best in the audience”. I think his book of Humorous Political
by Alan Barker demonstrates a more equivocal Quotations
truth. The outstanding speeches by Fred Metcalf
here certainly “channel thinking,” Biteback Publishing, 2012, £9.99
The Words of Our Time: in his words, “moving it into new
speeches that made a
difference 2001-2011
territory.” Some are uplifting: Havel,
Robin Cook (his magnificent 2003
resignation speech), Ellen Johnson
A good book of quotations
is like a box of superior
chocolates. You enjoy one, and
by John Shosky
Sirleaf (of whom I was shamefully before you know it...
Biteback Publishing, 2012, £20
ignorant before opening this book).
Some offer shared enlightenment: Fred Metcalf’s collection of

T his new collection gathers 50

speeches that,
in John Shosky’s view,
Michael Bear, Slavoj Žiżek on
the Occupy movement,
political quotations is among
the most superior. His range is
Douglas Alexander. But remarkable, historically (from Cicero
have made history: to blog postings from 2012) and
others work more viscerally:
speeches that “won’t stylistically. He includes one-liners
Mitt Romney’s conflation
go away”. It’s a useful and slow-burners of up to 60 words;
of religion and politics;
album of insights into he quotes real people and fictional
Obama’s breathtakingly
the shocking decade characters (The West Wing is well
daring eulogy for the victims
we’ve just left behind. represented). Some of the humour
of the Tucson shootings;
Hugo Chavez’ notorious, is broad (including – perhaps a
Many of these texts few too many – American stand-
exhilarating tirade in 2006
would be significant, up comedians); some traditionally
at the UN, with its reference
even if they hadn’t witty; and some satirical (Yes
to Dubya and the smell of
been speeches. I’d have Minister is here). You’ll find writers,
welcomed a broader actors, activists and plenty of real
cultural range: despite politicians, many of them with their
Elsewhere – and he has
nods to religion (Pope Benedict) and own entries: quotation collages that
written a good set of blog posts for
science (Diana DeGette), the themes deliver caricatured, often surreal pen
Total Politics – Shosky talks about
are predominantly political and portraits.
“the healing power of language”. I’m
economic. (And do we really need
not sure I buy his thesis that great
four speeches by Cameron?) The entries on national
speeches by definition “make our
community and its citizens better”. characteristics brazenly celebrate
The stylistic range is broader than their own political incorrectness.
the thematic. So what does such a Metcalf is happy to include Anon,
The outstanding speeches here
varied collection reveal about how and its more recent descendant, the
weld their audiences together with
speeches work? Shosky provokes bumper sticker (“GUNS DON’T KILL
a surge of linguistic energy; but
the question by offering nine PEOPLE. ABORTION CLINICS KILL
they don’t always “appeal to our
characteristics of great speeches. PEOPLE.”) “That’s humour at work,”
better instincts”. They compel our
How do his choices measure up? For chuckles Metcalf in his introduction;
attention and our (maybe temporary)
a start, he sees speeches as literature. “ever ready to undermine your most
acquiescence, despite our more
Great speeches, he suggests, are precious and long-held beliefs. It
rational intentions. Some “keep doing
“well written”. In which case, at least thinks it’s funny!”
their job” (Shosky’s final characteristic
three speeches here noticeably fail:
of ‘greatness’); but their real claim to
Ang San Suu Kyi (14 November 2011), One quibble. The dictionary
greatness is that they did what they
Ronald Jan Heijn (6 November 2011) is arranged by subject, including
aimed to do, at the moment of their
and Sarah Palin (6 February 2010). issues, movements, philosophies and
performance, stunningly.
political parties. My pedantic side
Great speeches are “simple” (Pope would have welcomed an index of
Maybe it’s this indefinable ‘kick’ –
Benedict?); they “tell us something authors. Use this book in two ways.
which every speechwriter searches
authentic about the speaker” (Putin?); Reach for it when you want to add
for – that makes great speeches
they “change the world” (Sarkozy? the sharp tang of a ready-made
spellbinding. And Shosky, albeit
Dan Hannan? Almost any of the quotation to a speech. And study
reluctantly, seems to agree. For good
speeches by British politicians?). it closely to discover the secrets of
or otherwise, he recognises that
“these words won’t leave us alone.” being quotable.

The Speechwriter May 2013 | Volume 12 3

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Where Do We Belong? a programme of ‘nation building’,

that means creating institutions
A Review of Luuk van and rituals that bring the different
Middelaar’s The Passage interests: religious, academic,
to Europe political and scientific together to
remoralise the country.
by William Cohen
Luuk van Middelaar isn’t a rabbi,
but he has rabbinical gift for telling
good stories and making ideas
accessible. He has written a book
describing how several tribes have Luuk van Middelaar– speechwriter to Herman
come together over the past 60 years Van Rompuy
to build a ‘European’ community,
state, union or nation, depending on The German way: this is based
how you want to see it. on promoting shared destiny.
The tools to do this include a flag,
He lists three forms of European symbolic coins and pantheon of
co-operation: ‘The Europe of States’, dead ‘founders’. The mechanism
‘The Europe of Citizens’ and ‘The works in the same way as Italy was
Europe of Offices’. created. The Italian parliamentarian
Massimo d’Azeglio, shortly after
The ‘Europe of States’ is the national unification in 1860 said, ‘We
principle that European politics has have made Italy. Now we must make
most to gain from co-operation Italians’.
between governments. There is
no need for institutions. Sovereign Then there is the Roman way: this
O ne of my favourite speakers
is the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks.
He’s also a trenchant political thinker.
governments pursue peace and
prosperity for their peoples through
builds a union based on rights and
freedoms and material benefits like
diplomatic exchange. security, opportunities and money.
One of his preoccupations is his fear When Margaret Thatcher stated we
that our societies are falling apart. want ‘our money back’ she broke a
The ‘Europe of Citizens’ is the
He wrote a book called The Home We taboo about calculating net receipts.
principle that state powers need
Build Together, which analysed British The concept of ‘our’ upset the
to be transferred to a European
national identity and the challenge notion of a ‘European’ we. A Dutch
government, parliament and court
of multiculturalism. Parliamentarian has argued: ‘Money
paving the way for a federation.
The model is the American republic, makes Europe visible to residents’
He says the British define and is therefore, ‘a fine way to
where central bodies exercise power
themselves with static images - long generate a European consciousness’.
over citizens directly.
shadows over the county ground,
spinsters cycling to Evensong, warm And then there is the Greek
The ‘Europe of Offices’ is the
beer etc. And he explains how way: debate, drama and democratic
principle of transferring functions to
British values emerge in schools, representation. We all need to have
a European bureaucracy. A rational
universities and regiments, where a say. They created a parliament,
bureaucracy will steer the ship. There
enthusiasm and effort are frowned direct elections and a conception of
doesn’t need to be a visionary goal.
upon. The Chief Rabbi compares citizenship to promote these ideals.
this unfavourably with America, We do see drama on the European
The European Union has
where there is a national purpose. stage. National politicians have to
applied all three principles in its
America and Israel are nations built square agreements at the European
development of its key institutions:
on covenants - powerful stories table and then their electorates
the Council, the Parliament and the
about belonging, like the building back home. British MEP’s rant and
of the Tabernacle or rituals like the rave at the high and mighty of the
Inaugural Address invoking the Commission. The British referendum,
Middelaar’s book poses the
blessing of God upon the people. should it happen, will be an
question, how has the idea of Europe
evolved? And what path will it important test of the Greek model.
The Chief Rabbi thinks that Britain What will happen if a nation state
pursue in the future? He enumerates
as an idea is at risk. He proposes decides to leave the Union?
three conceptions of the Union.

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Is there a European identity? Is SPEECH GIVEN BY THE DUTCH MINISTER

the association durable? It wasn’t
something that emerged as a result OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, FRANS TIMMERMANS
of the will of the peoples, it has Policy Network, The Guildhall, London, 28 February 2013
been built by politicians. What it is
has in common with the founding
of Israel, is that the peoples have a
habit of backsliding and complaining
I want to react to what
has been said earlier.
Especially by Commissioner
Europe’s challenged on a
fundamental level.
that they were better off with the
Rehn, when he came up Why? Because the
fleshpots of the past.
with this quote from a social contract which
professor. I don’t remember underlies our societies
The Chief Rabbi states often
his name, but he said: and which underlies
that Europe is dying. A culture
European integration is
of “consumerism and instant
‘What has Europe being challenged today.
gratification” has led to falling birth
ever done for you?’ And I Because for the first time
rates. He says what we need is a
was reminded of Monty in a couple of generations,
creative and dynamic purpose. Since
Python’s Life of Brian people are now looking at
Europe is formed from the conflict
their societies, be it in the UK or in
of interests among nation states and ‘What have the Romans ever the Netherlands or elsewhere, and
perhaps it does have a destiny. done for you?’ We’re in the same are thinking: are our children actually
Maybe it’s like the Biblical Tabernacle situation here. going to be as well off as we are? Are
- the sheer fact of bringing together
we not heading for a certain decline?
the creative gifts of 27 nations: The emotion is: we’re being Isn’t the social contract to which
German fiscal responsibility, French occupied. And the reaction to that we contribute out of order? Is it not
bureaucratic dexterity, British emotion is: rational arguments why a reality that those who are asked
institutional pragmatism, creates things that are being done are good to pay for solidarity see that others
something greater than the sum of for you. That, in politics, will never benefit from solidarity, but doubt
its parts. work. That is one of the problems themselves when they need others
Europe’s facing today. That those to be grateful for their contributions
This is a beautifully translated who are in favour of European they will not get the same solidarity
book, rich in ideas and reflections. cooperation and integration, when in return?
It’s a meticulous chronicle of they are criticised on a fundamental
the vacillations, setbacks and emotional level, their reaction is I think this is one of the
compromises that have characterised always rational arguments: ‘But they fundamental problems in Western
the European project. Luuk van gave you a lower roaming fee’. You European societies. The welfare state
Middelaar writes with panache. He will not win the argument for Europe is no longer seen as something we
talks of Europe being a campfire, by stipulating once more that you all contribute to and we all profit
with the member states having got a lower roaming fee. You’ll have from. It is seen as something we
to shuffle across to accommodate to make the argument on exactly contribute to and others profit from.
new members. He compares the the same emotional level. Like those And that is why the crisis between
evolution of Europe with the C12th who argue that Europe’s at its end, the North and the South in Europe
conception of Purgatory as an idea, that Europe’s turning into a new has resonated so strongly with the
just for fun. He speculates on what dictatorship. European population. Because it’s
might constitute a European identity, a reflection of what is happening
mentioning that a writer once I believe in Europe because it has within societies.
claimed to be able to tell blindfold brought peace. I believe in Europe
whether he was in Europe or because it is the best instrument In the North people will say:
somewhere else. It turns out Europe to protect our citizens against the look, we have to pay for people in
can be heard and smelt: barking negative effects of globalisation. And the South who don’t even bother
dogs, church bells and children to help our citizens profit from the to go to work. Who retire at fifty.
playing outdoors. positive elements of globalisation, And live easy lives at our expense.
we need the size of Europe. And people in the South are saying:
As a British person I’m grateful to look, we have to go through these
Middelaar for writing an accessible We as member states individually austerity programmes not because
history, a valuable reference book do not have the size to confront it is necessary. The programmes are
and an antidote to Eurosceptic the challenges society faces. But killing our economies because the
newspaper prejudice.

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Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

North wants to impose its vision of Or yourself. welfare state that attends to the
society on us. needs of our population. Especially,
I think that Europe today needs and this was also said in the first
And this is arguably the biggest to look at itself and needs to reform round, we need jobs. We need our
challenge European integration has itself. That is quite clear. younger generation to see light at
ever seen. The fact that this idea of the end of the tunnel. And in many
shared destinies is being put to the What irritates me – and I say this European countries that is not the
test at a very fundamental level. Not openly – is the fact that Brussels case today.
just of North and South, but, if I may especially, the Brussels bubble – and
say so, metaphorically, North and I would agree with Prime Minister Secondly, we have to show that
South within every society in the Cameron on this – is very good the EU can actually really help us.
European Union. at telling others to reform and to Provide for protection in this era of
change. But it’s very reluctant to globalisation that also comes with a
Now turning to the subject I was reform and change itself. We have lot of risks for our populations. I think
asked to speak about. I was asked to just had our multi-annual budget in many European countries, also in
reflect on a speech by a conservative debate over the last couple of weeks. mine, working people especially see
prime minister in the United And I’m really, truly disappointed. Europe as an agent of globalisation
Kingdom. And I must say, if you read That on heading 5, administrative and don’t see it as a protective
the speech, it is rather pro-European. expenses of the European Union, we force against globalisation. We
Margaret Thatcher in Bruges in 1988 have a 9% increase. Most of which need to change that paradigm. In
certainly had a number of things will be spent on people working in that context, too, it’s necessary for
to say that were pro-Europe. They Brussels. Whereas almost all of us at Brussels to reform itself.
would probably not be said today national level have to go through
by most prime ministers in any very difficult austerity programmes, The fundamental question of ‘why
European nation. But one interesting limiting the salaries of our officials. Europe?’ is never answered today.
point she made, warning against Limiting the number of civil servants, We’re always talking about ‘how
Europe, was listen, we want to stay etc. So I think if Brussels wants us to Europe’. And ‘how Europe’ will never
British. Just as the Dutch want to stay reform – and I think they have some win elections. Only ‘why Europe?’ will
Dutch. And the French want to stay strong points there – I think they win elections for Europe. I think too
French. We don’t want Europe to sort should also lead in reform. And not, many people today think that the
of take away our identity. you know, raise their salaries that Commission and other institutions
have always been talked about, with in Brussels are a justification in and
Now if you look back 25 years, some justification. Not go onto the by themselves. What they do, they
and you look at the situation today, I streets and strike because they want do for Brussels, not for us. I think this
think one could argue our identities a pay rise, when the rest of the civil is echoed not just in the UK, but in
are more pronounced, are clearer servants in Europe have to accept many EU member states.
on a regional and on a local level cuts in their pay.
than they were 25 years ago. I don’t And we do have an obligation.
think anybody is less Dutch than I think we need to solve two To clarify that the institutions we’ve
they were 25 years ago. Even in the problems. First of all, and this was created in Brussels are there for the
region where I’m from in the south debated in the first round, we need people. Not for themselves. If we
of the Netherlands. A region where to bring back economic growth talk about the democratic deficit,
local identity has amplified, has and jobs. For this we need to foster we see this at three levels. First of
increased over the past 25 years. Not innovation and competitiveness. We all, there is an output deficit. Europe
diminished. I think that this Europe, need a better functioning internal overpromises and underdelivers.
at the level of identity, regionally and market. We need to control the debt
locally, is not less than 25 years ago. crisis and reform our welfare state. We need to change that.
I think it is stronger than 25 years I think the left, especially in Europe, Secondly there is a throughput
ago. Of course, what happened in should come to terms with the fact deficit. Nobody understands how
the last 25 years does not have to that there will be no welfare state in Brussels works. Very few Europeans
be repeated in the future. But I think the future without reform. have – let me put it this way – an
it’s good to realise that you can have affectionate relationship with the
increased European integration, We cannot spend ourselves out of European Parliament. And people
you can have increased European this crisis. We have to make sure we do not understand the mechanics
cooperation, without losing your do reform our welfare state. There is a of the decision-making in Brussels.
identity. lot of room for reform of the welfare Thirdly, there is an input deficit. In
state. And it can become a good most of our states, we don’t know

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what happens with what we decide debate, it’s like a person in a car who want a referendum. One would ask
in Westminster or in the Dutch hears a message on the radio saying: a referendum on what, if you don’t
parliament, and then it’s presented in there’s a ghost rider on the M1. And have treaty change.
the European Council or elsewhere. the person in the car says: One? I see
Where is our voice going? Where is about a thousand here. This brings me to the speech of
our position going? What’s coming this other prime minister. A recent
out of it? We don’t see that. We will not head towards the speech. If you look at Dutch foreign
united states of Europe. That’s policy over the last seventy years,
So we need to fix the democratic one of those images that is always there’s one consistent element in our
deficit at three levels. And because adopted in this debate. We will Europe policy. We want the Brits on
this is so intricate, the simple solution not lose our cultural identity. But board. From the very first discussion,
of more power to the European what will happen then? I think in on European cooperation between
Parliament will not fix it. We need the next couple of years, we will France and Germany, a central point,
national parliaments to become concentrate especially on fixing a pivotal point in Dutch foreign
much more involved. To take the what needs to be fixed. That is policy was to enlarge Europe by
responsibility we need national creating a banking union. And getting the Brits on board, because in
politicians to stop blaming Europe fixing the holes in the Economic and our view, that would create a better
for everything. And to stop claiming Monetary Union. These holes were balance. Between those countries
success and avoiding mentioning created at the outset in Maastricht. who have, shall we say a protectionist
sometimes that the success – believe Because the French didn’t want inclination, and those countries who
it or not – can really be attributed to increased economic coordination. are oriented towards trade.
Brussels. So what happened was that the idea
became that convergence would And this has served us well.
Now, does this mean we need automatically lead to the closing Served the Netherlands well,
different forms of integration? I of those gaps in the Economic and and I honestly believe it has also
would say that we already have Monetary Union. We had never served the United Kingdom well. I
many different forms of integration imagined this crisis between the wonder what profits there would
and within the existing treaty we periphery and the centre. Which has be in the UK leaving the European
can have as much flexibility as increased the holes in the Economic Union. I can’t really see them. It is
one would like. This has changed and Monetary Union rather than an emotional thing. It is an internal
recently, because this flexibility was closed them. So we need to fix that. party discussion. I understand all of
always intended to accommodate those elements. But if I try to see, will
people who wanted to travel at I believe we can fix that within the it make Britain stronger? Absolutely
different paces. Those who wanted existing treaties, the limits of which not. Look at the position of Norway.
to travel fast could do that. And to will be explored in the next couple Norway spends arguably more per
join later – Schengen is one of the of years. And probably the limits will capita on the EU and still has no say
prime examples of that. I think this be indicated by other institutions in the decision-making in Brussels.
is a very important, very powerful such as the Constitutional Court in It can only adopt what is decided
model. And we need to work with Germany. And if there the outcome there. The EU can provide protection.
that. The eurozone in fact works is: what we can do cannot be done We saw it in the case of salmon from
like that. And I think people would within the treaties, we might get Norway. It was creating a problem in
be under an illusion if they believe a debate on treaty change. But I Scotland. The EU took measures to
that the eurozone will remain at believe – and I have some experience prevent the Scottish economy from
its present membership. Very few with treaty change – that we would suffering too much. The UK might
countries in the future will stay out do everything to avoid treaty be in a completely different position.
of the eurozone. By choice, of course, change. If we can fix it within the That salmon from Scotland creates a
people can stay out, but I think most existing treaties – and I believe this problem elsewhere in the EU. And if
of them will want to join. This is a is the common opinion in almost you’re not a member of the EU, you
good model. all member states today; if we get know what’s going to happen.
out of this crisis – and as you heard
What has changed in the debate in the first panel, people are rather I think it is also an illusion to
is that now we’re not just talking optimistic about this – the call for believe that you can leave the EU
about travelling at different speeds treaty change will not reoccur. I and still be part of the common
in one direction. We’re now starting think that if we can fix it within the market. The common market is not
to discuss the possibility of starting existing treaties, we will. Which is a static thing. It will develop under
travelling in different directions. And going to be an interesting case for the influence of the decisions we will
sometimes when I follow the British the British government if they still take on improving the euro. When

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we fix the euro, this will create a new The other thing I would advise permanently lose the support of our
dynamic. Not just for the financial in using that approach is that you population.
sector, but especially for the internal have to give a positive answer to
market. This is what we want. This at least three basic questions. First, I think the strongest part in the
is what the UK wants. This is what will it strengthen the working of the speech made by Prime Minister
we need to do in the next couple internal market? Aiming for a highly Cameron is exactly about that
of years. The danger is, if you’re not competitive social market economy, democratic deficit. He is absolutely
part of the EU you will create this which is crucial for creating European right. Across the continent we’ve
dynamic, but will no longer be part competitiveness and is possibly the lost the support of parts of our
of that dynamic. greatest added value the EU has to population for the European project.
offer for its citizens. We need to regain their support.
I think it would be a grave mistake We can’t build Europe without
to believe that you can leave Europe Secondly, does it respect the the support of Europeans. And
and then still profit from the internal political essence of the EU as a this can be not just the argument
market. To my mind what we need common project of states and of lower roaming fees, but also,
to do in the next couple of years people? especially, arguments based on a
is reform the European Union. The common shared destiny. Based on a
chances of reform in the European Thirdly, does it ensure that shared idea of what a social market
Union are so much bigger with the institutional set-up of the economy should be.
the UK on board, than with the union remains balanced with its
UK outside. You will never reform carefully constructed roles for the Finally, Prime Minister Cameron
the European Union by leaving Commission, Parliament and Court of called for the application of the
the room. You will only reform the Justice? principles of fairness. I agree. But
European Union by sitting down fairness is a two-way street. You
with your partners in Europe and the Incidentally, as someone who has can’t just claim fairness from your
institutions and talking about the worked in these fields for more than partners in Europe. You have to apply
reforms we need. 25 years, arguably the best people in fairness to your own attitude. Saying
the institutions are from the UK. to the rest of Europe: give me what
I think there is a good case to I want, or I’ll walk away will lead to
be made for reviewing Europe’s Your nationals in the EU the reaction we’ve seen from certain
competences. I agree with the institutions are arguably always corners saying well, we’ll roll out the
British government on that. But among the best professionals in carpets. Be our guest, walk away. And
do it together with your partners those institutions. Working for the EU I would advise my British friends to
in Europe. Do it together with the and for Britain. Yes, that is possible at look who’s saying this. And whether
institutions. Also the institutions. the same time. they have the best interest of Britain
President Barroso has made remarks and other partners in Europe in mind
to that effect. He wants to look at And it would be a great loss to when they are saying it.
their competences. And you can call Europe, to those institutions, but
it repatriation. You can call it what specifically to the United Kingdom, I would not be saying anything
you like. But I think there is a case to if those people were forced to leave else as a Dutch foreign minister,
be made on several issues. Where those institutions. That would really because it’s part and parcel of what
you can come to an agreement weaken all of us. we believe in, but I want to repeat it
within the existing treaties. To say finally once again. We need Britain
yes, the Commission might have this Therefore I call upon the British in Europe. We need a strong and
competence. But it’s not effective, government to join us with other convincing argument for Europe in
not useful for the Commission to countries to reform the Union Britain. Because as Winston Churchill
exert this competence. from within. To force the Brussels said, if you feed the crocodile of
bubble to look at itself. To make euroscepticism – my addition to his
We could rather give it back to sure we clarify the three issues with quote – if you feed the crocodile, the
the member states and have them the democratic deficit. In output, only thing you will achieve, is that
exert it themselves. In my view you throughput and input. We can do the crocodile will eat you last.
can do this in a common agreement this.
with your partners in Europe and Thank you very much.
the institutions without looking for We can do this at a national
treaty change. In my view that is not level and we can certainly do this
necessary. at a European level. We have to
do this, because otherwise we will

The Speechwriter May 2013 | Volume 12 8

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

CELIA JARVIS DESCRIBES HOW SHE CAME TO second to roll off his tongue, which,
while sounding attractive, did
WRITE A SPEECH FOR BILL CLINTON nothing to help keep us on schedule.

Despite my initial excitement,

Perhaps the greatest was being the actual speech writing process
asked to write a speech for Bill was fairly typical. However big the
Clinton, former President of the name the procedure is always the
United States, and now a committed same. A first draft was sent through
humanitarian worker with a keen to his team in America; changes were
interest in developing countries and made to reflect his natural style of
improving women’s rights. speaking and sent back for approval.
This process was repeated only twice
I was instructed to write a short before the speech was signed off and
speech for President Clinton’s delivered.
official address during his visit to
Nigeria. Due to Clinton’s packed Although I would love to take
schedule only three minutes had credit for a carefully constructed
been set aside and within this time speech with compelling content,

W orking for a Nigerian he wanted to convey his sympathy the reality is I was simply in the right
Governor was never going over the country’s fractured history, place at the right time. Nevertheless,
to be a nine-to-five job. During express his hope that there would watching President Clinton deliver
campaign season 18 to 20 hour be a brighter future and thank the the speech I wrote for him has been
days were the norm, temperatures relevant dignitaries for a warm my personal career highlight and,
regularly topped 40 degrees Celsius welcome. however it came about, it still has
and the culture of ‘African time’ pride of place on my CV.
meant morning meetings would The timings were strict and
begin mid-afternoon, if at all. President Clinton still possessed a Celia Jarvis is a new member of the
Southern drawl, left over from his UK Speechwriters’ Guild
However, amidst the chaos, there childhood in Arkansas. The words
were also wonderful opportunities. ‘Nigeria’ and ‘plunder’ took a full

ORATORY IN CONSERVATIVE PARTY POLITICS (from the University of Sheffield)

considered the flamboyant oratorical
style of the politician tipped to be

T his was the second highly

successful conference built
upon the Labour Orators conference
Hague, Michael Heseltine, and
Margaret Thatcher. Lord Norton
of Louth, who both sits on the
the next leader of the party, Boris

held at the University of Huddersfield Conservative benches in the House As with the Labour event held
in November 2011. Last year the of Lords and is an active Professor last year, the conference organisers,
focus was on the use of oratorical of Politics at the University of Hull, Andrew Crines (University of
skills deployed by Conservative Party took on the challenge of analysing Huddersfield) and Richard Hayton
politicians, from Stanley Baldwin to Enoch Powell, who used his powerful (University of Leeds), plan to develop
the present day. oratory to sometimes devastating the proceedings into an edited book
effect. with a leading academic publisher.
The conference was organised Together with the volume on Labour
through the Political Studies Professor Kevin Theakston politics, they hope that the books will
Association Conservatives and (University of Leeds) discussed make a significant contribution to
Conservatism Specialist Group, the man commonly held up as the the study of oratory and rhetoric in
convened by politics lecturer Richard greatest orator in British political British politics.
Hayton. history – Winston Churchill.
Huddersfield’s Emeritus Professor For more information on the PSA
Members of the group, who of Politics Brendan Evans gave Specialist Group, please visit:
are specialists in the study of his insights on Harold Macmillan
Conservative politics, delivered – who, he confessed, he could or contact Richard on:
papers on significant figures from well remember as Prime Minister.
the party’s history, including William Meanwhile Dr Katharine Dommett

The Speechwriter May 2013 | Volume 12 9

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild



O n 25 and 26 April, 2013,

the Centre for Oratory and
Rhetoric (COR), Royal Holloway,
greatest Australian speeches. It was
the first time an Australian Prime
Minister admitted to the crimes that
explained how the theories of
distinguished UK Speechwriters’
Guild regular, Dr Max Atkinson were
University of London put on a two European settlers committed against still relevant, but evolving.
day conference on speechwriting the Aboriginal communities, and the
with the title ‘From Antiphon to difficulties they continued to cause. Simon Lancaster from Bespoke
Autocue’. Speeches talked about his work
We committed the murders. as a professional speechwriter. He
I attended the session on ‘Modern We took the children from explained how he thought most
Speechwriting’. UK Speechwriter’s their mothers. We practised people’s world view was formed
Guild member, Professor Richard discrimination and exclusion. It was between the ages of 18 and 21.
Toye, gave a stirring talk about our ignorance and our prejudice. By asking the speaker what they
Churchill’s speeches. He quoted from were doing then, it was a good
correspondence to show how people It’s an astonishing speech, which way to work out what their cultural
perceived Churchill’s speeches at the can be viewed on YouTube. It later references and ‘story’ was. He was
time. Many of the reactions were less became even more controversial self-deprecating about what a
flattering than later myths would because Don Watson, the Prime speechwriter does, ‘save the bosses’
have us believe. Office workers and Minister’s speechwriter, claimed time’ and he described a politician’s
people in the pub were concerned authorship. This became the focus of trick to win over an audience on the
as to whether Churchill was actually a feud between Watson and Keating, doorstep, which is also adaptable
telling the truth. Was he was using with Keating quoting another for speeches: EVA - empathy, value,
‘rhetoric’ to create false hope? It was speechwriter who summed up the action.
a reminder of the indifference and difference in five words, ‘Broke the
scepticism the general public can contract, mate’. The event was organised by
show to the speechwriter’s art. Christos Kremmydas, a Greek
Andrew Tolson, Professor of academic with great enthusiasm
Tom Clarke, an Australian Media and Communication at the for the subject. I also made contact
academic from Victoria University, De Montfort University, Leicester, with Professor Jonathan Powell and
Melbourne, analysed ‘The Redfern compared the rhetorical techniques Professor Lene Rubinstein, who have
Speech’, delivered by the Australian used in Tony Blair’s first Labour Party an ambitious programme of events
Prime Minister, Paul Keating, on 10 conference speech as leader to Ed planned to promote the ‘flowers’ of
December 1992 at Redfern Park, Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ conference rhetoric to their students.
Redfern. It’s regarded as one of the speech delivered in 2012. He


I n ancient
Roman sculptors
proudly in his atrium.

A few weeks later the beeswax

You are not in the business of
carving statues out of marble. But
you do something basically similar.
sometimes would dry out, crumble away, and You carve speeches out of words.
sought to leave the original cracks exposed.
conceal surface Beware the use of wax!
cracks in a To such alarming proportions
statue with the did this practice of wax trickery Beeswax tricked the ancient
aid of melted grow, it finally became the custom Romans. But wax never tricked
beeswax. of reputable sculptors to guarantee anybody. It is instantly recognised
their works as sine cera - literally and thoroughly despised by all
A buyer translated - ‘without wax’. listeners.
deceived into believing that he
was purchasing a flawless piece of Our present word ‘sincere’ we owe Public Speaking As Listeners Like It by
marble, would place such a statue to a rebellion against wax. Richard C Borden (1935)

The Speechwriter May 2013 | Volume 12 10

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild



When writing in English, I try to you know nothing of speechwriting

temporarily “shut-off’ Lithuanian in again.
my head. It’s like going with a snow
sweeper in my brain to clear the road Did you do debating at school?
for English constructions. Of course,
I need to immerse myself in as much No, I did debating at home. With
English as I can get being neither my father, every day. Sometimes a
a native speaker nor a graduate few times a day. Seriously, I consider
in English philology. Reading and him as my first teacher in persuasive
listening English texts is the only speaking. A child’s lack of authority
method. forced me to sharpen my arguments
like nothing else.
What can you tell us about
How do you become a Lithuanian audiences? I joined one at University, but not
speechwriter in Lithuania? for long.
Lithuanians are suspicious of
Actually I became one in rhetoric. For 50 years it has been used Who is your favourite English-
Belgium. When working in NATO’s against us, to manipulate us during speaking politician?
public diplomacy team, I had to the Soviet occupation. Therefore
write speeches for our leadership. if we spot good rhetoric, we sense I’ll be very boring, but Obama.
Not often, but more often that in a hidden agenda. A too good His way of speaking persuades that
any previous job. The feeling that orator might also be seen as being the Left is right. I also like that he
‘maybe I do it right’ came only at a less good professional. Because presents politics as an organic part of
a speechwriting course by Susan Lithuanians value deeds, not words. our lives, not something happening
Jones and Christopher Jary. They ‘in the other world’. Politics is about
complimented me on my skills, but As a result people mistakenly people’s lives. He also denounces the
I took their words seriously only assume that speaking unprepared stereotype that political speeches
when a speechwriting job offer came but “deep from their hearts” is better. should be either boring or too
along, almost two years later. But eventually it does not do justice sophisticated. But as with everything
either to the speaker, or for the issue “favourite”, one has to enjoy with
A speechwriter is a real ghost in they advocate. It’s grim, isn’t it? But moderation.
Lithuania. No one admits speaking to in the end words do make difference
it or having any issues, but I guess it’s here as elsewhere. What did you think of Margaret
true for all of continental Europe. Thatcher?
What’s your favorite reference
Can you remember the first book? I wonder if being her
speech you ever wrote? speechwriter would have been a bliss
Susan Jones’ book was my or a curse. Without adding much to
Oh, that was at my first job, in a first read on speechwriting as a what has been said lately, I think that
youth organisation, more than ten separate subject. Then it was Peggy times dictate our leaders too.
years ago. I don’t remember the Noonan’s nicely written memoirs
subject any longer, only that my with many writing tips. I read it What’s your favourite book
boss came back to me saying “this is with great pleasure also because written in English?
a really good one”. I did not see it as it was a thoughtful gift form my
breakthrough in speechwriting then, previous colleague. Third is Philip I like Kurt Vonnegut for his irony
more as recognition of my ability Collins latest book, though maybe and J. Saramago for style. He forces
to “make a point”. I never imagined I liked it because of his impressive us to read as we speak. A parallel
speechwriting as a separate career presentation at the UK Speechwriters’ with speechwriting as an exercise to
path, at least not for me. Guild Conference in London. His write as we speak.
glossary of rhetorical terms at the
Are you employed to write end of the book was like learning But the first book that comes
speeches in English as well as quantum physics. Makes you think to my mind is by contemporary
Lithuanian? How does that work?

The Speechwriter May 2013 | Volume 12 11

Newsletter of The UK Speechwriters’ Guild

Lithuanian author – K. Sabaliauskaite

“Silva Rerum”. Hope it will be
translated in English one day.
..the Bank will continue to investigate
Do you have a tip for writing for potential improvements to the monetary policy
multilingual audiences? framework, including the merits of alternative
frameworks in avoiding and exiting the zero
Simple words, short sentences, lower bound and the interaction of monetary
sharp arguments and no information and other macro policies.
overload. The only advantage non-
native speakers have when writing As we meet today, the combination of the
to multilingual audiences in English difficulty of exiting the zero lower bound and the
– we do not use words others might uncertainty over cost-benefits of unconventional
not understand. We simply don’t policies underscore the desirability of having a
know them ourselves or find them monetary policy framework that will minimise the prospect of its attainment.
difficult to pronounce. Speeches
should not turn into an exercise of One of the core strengths of Canada’s system is the periodic review of our
checking audiences vocabulary of monetary policy framework that leads to the renewal of our inflation-control
English language. agreement between the Bank of Canada and the Government of Canada every
five years. Further research on some of the issues I have raised in this speech will
help inform future agreements and the conduct of policy.
How do you present your
manuscripts? Sentences that don’t bode well for the new Governor of the Bank of England,
Mark Carney, who delivered these lines as a peroration to his Eric J Hanson
Presentably, I guess. I try to add Memorial Lecture, Monetary Policy After the Fall, at the University of Alberta,
notes explaining why particular Edmonton, Canada on 1 May 2013.
angle or word has been chosen. But I
still wonder, if they really help. Words
need to speak for themselves.


Essentials of Speechwriting Training

6 June 2013
Institute for Government, London
To register go to:

Autumn Leadership & Communication Conference

19 & 20 September 2013
Résidence Palace, Brussels
To buy tickets go to:

Essentials of Speechwriting Training

18 October 2013
Club de la Presse de Strasbourg
To register go to:


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