Who is the better orator, Miliband or Osborne? One can deliver for an hour from memory and the other sneers as he speaks as he preens. Or that is the impression we had a fortnight ago.
Osborne enjoyed every minute of his keynote in Birmingham today, even laughing off a few blunders, one of them on tax and the other on a line at Miliband's expense. But so what? A few mishaps are as nothing compared with missing entire sections out. And Osborne only knew he had blundered because he had notes to keep him on message.
The biggest talking point for Osborne, though, was in over half an hour at the lectern we got no smugness, preening or sneering even when he was sledging Miliband. The new lightweight and strangely trendy Chancellor has lost much of that, though he remains the man who would put 20p on yer Greggs cheese and onion pasty given half a chance.
Last week Miliband managed to come across as smugger than the smuggest in the business, his vanity trumping both content and the good advice from those who knew better (he apparently eschewed their advice). You must deliver from the stage, especially when the entire press corps has a copy of your speech before you deliver it. Osborne has a lot to thank his speechwriters for- I don't believe they were unaware of the Trainspotting theme in the peroration though most of those in the hall will have been oblivious- but he must also be very chuffed (though not smug) at his new found human persona.
Churchill said he could prepare a two hour speech in ten minutes but a ten minute speech took two hours. It was obvious at times in Miliband's painful hour that he was struggling, not just in the repetition of words but in his body language and voice: he was all over the place, roaming about looking for the exit. Osborne, by contrast, eyeballed the audience after an over enthusiastic Digby Jones almost delivered a keynote before him, took his time and knew where he was going from the outset.
Delivery is important, but much of what you deliver in the conference room relies on what you did with your speechwriter, usually in the bedroom.
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Russell Wardrop is our Chief Executive. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.