On 31st January, Boris
Johnson delivered a short speech to mark the UK leaving the EU. It wasn’t
carried by many broadcast channels but the speech has been viewed millions of
times on line, demonstrating the continuing rise of new media and the decline
of traditional institutions.
Downing Street have issued a
transcript so I have reproduced the whole speech at the end of the article.
There are some noteworthy features in what is a very professional production:
The whole speech comes in at under
four minutes. With communication via the media it is essential to get your
message across without losing the audience who can click elsewhere at any time.
Delivering short speeches is becoming the new political norm.
The speech has a classic chess game structure
with an Opening, a Middle and an End. This ensures that nothing is forgotten
and everything is in the right place.
The opening three lines demonstrate
great rapport building. In a matter of seconds he acknowledges those who see
Brexit with hope, those who feel anxiety and loss, and those who want to get it
over with. This signals that his statement will be all inclusive, a coming
together after the discord of the last three years.
The Middle is for Messages and
Memorability, and he manages to achieve both. He states an intention to control
immigration, create freeports, protect fishing and do free trade deals as specifics.
The imagery of a breaking dawn with
the curtain going up is memorable and positive.
He recognises the EU’s strengths even
though it has evolved in a direction that no longer suits this country. This
sets a positive tone for ongoing relationships with our nearest neighbours.
Later he will return to invite a new
era of friendly cooperation between the EU and the UK.
He also claims that Brexit has been
confirmed in the polls – not once but twice. Thus appropriating the 2019
election for Brexit, although many other issues were debated during the
Boris signals that he no longer accepts
that your life chances should depend on where you grew up. It is time to Unite
and Level Up.
The message won’t be lost on Northern
constituencies who leant their votes to new Conservative MPs this time.
Boris lists his priorities as
defeating crime, transforming the NHS, education, technology and
infrastructure. A lot of these priorities will be familiar to those of us who
worked with him at London’s City Hall from 2008 to 2016.
Boris lists climate change, human rights,
female education and free trade as his diplomatic priorities. This is far from
a right wing message and signals a return to his more inclusive City Hall style
The promise to Rediscover muscles we
have not used for decades is a very powerful piece of imagery.
The final section of the speech is
delivered in shorter lines. This is a very good way to pick up the pace and
ensure a strong impact – always leave them wanting more.
I have a rule of thumb that no
sentence should run over beyond the end of a line in a platform speech and this
final section follows that approach quite strictly.
Of course, the earlier material is
longer but it matters less in a conversational piece to camera.
I can help you to design commercial or political speeches just as good as this so contact me for more details.
Very professional – and I recommend
watching it for the full effect. Meanwhile here is the official transcript:
THE SPEECH – WORD FOR WORD
Tonight we are leaving the European
For many people this is an astonishing moment of
hope, a moment they thought would never come
And there are many of course who feel a sense of
anxiety and loss
And then of course there is a third group – perhaps
the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would
never come to an end
I understand all those feelings, and our job as the
government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward
And the most important thing to say tonight is that
this is not an end but a beginning
This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the
curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama
And yes it is partly about using these new powers –
this recaptured sovereignty – to deliver the changes people voted for
Whether that is by controlling immigration or
creating freeports or liberating our fishing industry or doing free trade deals
Or simply making our laws and rules for the benefit
of the people of this country
And of course I think that is the right and healthy
and democratic thing to do
Because for all its strengths and for all its
admirable qualities, the EU has evolved over 50 years in a direction that no
longer suits this country
And that is a judgment that you, the people, have
now confirmed at the polls
Not once but twice
And yet this moment is far bigger than that
It is not just about some legal extrication
It is potentially a moment of real national renewal
This is the dawn of a new era in which we no longer
accept that your life chances – your family’s life chances – should depend on
which part of the country you grow up in
This is the moment when we really begin to unite
and level up
Defeating crime, transforming our NHS, and with
better education, with superb technology
And with the biggest revival of our infrastructure
since the Victorians
We will spread hope and opportunity to every part
of the UK
And if we can get this right I believe that with
every month that goes by we will grow in confidence not just at home but abroad
And in our diplomacy, in our fight against climate
In our campaigns for human rights or female
education or free trade we will rediscover muscles that we have not used for
The power of independent thought and action
Not because we want to detract from anything done
by our EU friends – of course not
We want this to be the beginning of a new era of
Between the EU and an energetic Britain.
A Britain that is simultaneously a great European
And truly global in our range and ambitions
And when I look at this country’s incredible assets
Our scientists, our engineers, our world-leading
universities, our armed forces
When I look at the potential of this country
waiting to be unleashed
I know that we can turn this opportunity into a
And whatever the bumps in the road ahead
I know that we will succeed
We have obeyed the people
We have taken back the tools of self-government
Now is the time to use those tools to unleash the
full potential of this brilliant country and to make better the lives of
everyone in every corner of our United Kingdom.