Sunday, 8 January 2012

HOW TO GIVE A BETTER SPEECH THAN OBAMA and change your world - (The Iron Lady on Europe) Darren Kelly, Kellcomm, Blog - Day 48


On 20 September 1988, 'The Iron Lady’ delivered a speech to define her party's view on Europe at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. She was attacked before the speech for not committing Britain to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). 'The Iron Lady’ made the speech to dampen the attack that was being orchestrated by Jacques Delors, the European Commission’s president, and to show that Britain wanted to be a part of Europe.

The aim of the speech was to make five points. She believed

• the best way to build Europe was through a willing and active cooperation between
independent and sovereign countries
• the Community policies must tackle present problems in a practical way
• the Community should help enterprise grow
• the Community should not be protectionist
• European countries should have greater control over defence issues

'The Iron Lady' appeared to approach her speech with a desire to achieve a win-win solution. She began her speech with self-deprecating humour and respect for Britain’s European partners. She compared her invitation to speak like "inviting Genghis Khan to speak on the virtues of peaceful coexistence. “ Then she challenged the key attack against her when she said, "I want to start by disposing some myths about my country Britain and its relationship with Europe." She praised Europe's influence on British culture, and she spoke about a "common experience.” However, ‘The Iron Lady’ was quick to refer to the "special way" in which Britain contributed to Europe, and she reminded her audience that the "liberation of Europe" was mounted from the UK. She stressed that the history of the relationship was proof of "our commitment to Europe’s future." Her fun and warm introduction opened her audience up to receive the well-structured logical part of her speech.

‘The Iron Lady’ stressed that the European Community is "only one manifestation of European identity. “ She claimed that the founding fathers of the Community thought the USA was a perfect model, but she said Europe was a different model. She urged each nation to retain its uniqueness so that France could be France, Spain could be Spain, and Britain could be Britain. ‘The Iron Lady’ pointed to the failure of the Soviet Union to run things from the centre, and she stressed that Europe must preserve different traditions, powers of parliament, and national pride. She pointed out that it was not "right that the total community budget was being spent on storing and disposing of surplus food." ‘The Iron Lady’ warned that a state controlled economy would not work and a "free enterprise within a framework of the law would offer “better results.” She said it was plain common sense not to abolish frontiers so that citizens could be protected from crime. ‘The Iron Lady’ offered thanks to NATO for a “peace that has been maintained over 40 years.” This started her attempt to encourage the continuance of a vigilant approach to maintain peace in Europe.

The thrust of her speech was that Europe could "get there one step at a time" rather than by "utopian goals." She also said that it was ok to "relish our national identity and our common endeavour" at the same time. While Europe was looking inward to unite, she suggested it must continue to look outward as well. It is worth noting that ‘The Iron Lady’ gave her vision on Europe on mainland Europe. Tony Blair did the same thing in Ghent, Belgium in 2000. This added to the respect of the words spoken, and proved that the phrase “location, location, location” applies to great speeches as well as property.

This post is not written to show whether 'The Iron Lady' was right or wrong in her views on Europe. I do believe, however, that her speech was not as anti-European as her critics proclaimed. A study of her speech and Blair’s speech show many similarities of thought.

‘The Iron Lady’s’ speech showed how you can deliver your views with a reasonable argument that is effectively structured and supported by facts and comparisons. This was not a rant, but an authentic conversation with conviction, courage, and respect.

Tomorrow, I will discuss the recent gaffes by the PM David Cameron and the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, and I will offer you some Obama gaffes too.

Take care,


PS: 'HOW TO GIVE A BETTER SPEECH THAN OBAMA and change your world' - is available on iTunes and Amazon NOW!
Audio Version only.
Text version out January 31st.

Kellcomm, Princes Exchange, Princes Square, Leeds, LS1 4HY, United Kingdom

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