Monday, 17 May 2010

His master's voice?

In his (re?) launch speech in South Shields today, David Miliband declared:
The Blair-Brown era is over. New Labour is not new any more. New Labour did fantastic things for the country but what counts is next Labour.
However, in his latest tweet, Miliband summarised the speech thus:
Speech today said Labour must look outward and forward not inward and backward. Key to winning and changing the country.
Remind you of anyone?
Europe is not a question of left or right, but a question of the future or the past, of strength or weakness. [...] It's about today versus yesterday. Less about politics and more about a state of mind; open as opposed to closed.
That was Tony Blair, speaking in France in 2008 (in French, as it happens, so it might have lost something in translation). I've mocked Mr. Miliband's tendency to ape TB's consonant-less Estuarian before (it seems to be a family trait: his brother Ed affected the same glottal style in his speech on Saturday). Now it seems the former Foreign Secretary is echoing his master's habit of speaking in vacuous binaries.

If the Blair-Brown era really is over, then Labour needs to move on rhetorically, as well as politically. And David needs to strip out of his speaking style anything that reinforces the sense that he's just a Miliblair with a tendency to be a little Milibland (much as many of us miss his master's voice).

(Oh dear, now I'm feeling guilty. While I was writing the above, I received an email from the man himself: 'Dear Martin, Thank you for joining my movement for change....Really looking forward to working with you over the campaign and beyond. Best wishes, David.' Aw, shucks.)


kellie said...

He's 'for change', but how about hope? I really hope he's for hope.

Martin said...

Nah, Barack's got both those covered, and Clegg owns the copyright on 'fairness'...