Soapbox 4: our post-Easter round up

Soap box

During the election campaign, we’re sharing the best and the worst of political communication. There’ll be no party bias here. We promise to praise everyone and spare no one, despite what we secretly think.

Welcome to our post-Easter Soapbox. Today, Tony Blair gave his support to Ed Miliband’s election campaign, and David Cameron had some haggis for his breakfast.

Metaphor Corner 

Come, join us in metaphor corner. Sit down. It is warm here, and strangeness abounds:

Even if the Tories are the largest party, I have said we will vote to stop the Tory government getting off the ground.”

The Tory party – notoriously aerodynamic and blessed with obscene levels of lifting force; like a fleet of Eton-educated Boeing 747s. But Nicola Sturgeon* don’t give a damn. She will throw herself bodily on all Tories everywhere if that is what it takes to stop them taking off.

*Please note that Nicola Sturgeon is not literally a sturgeon. She is a lady and this is metaphor corner.

“A country known for its openness to the world shuts the open door nearest to it.”

Pro-Europe Tony Blair channels his inner Celine Dion and asks us to be sure before we close that door.

Nationalism as a political cause, in the hands of parties like UKIP, is almost always ugly and can never, despite being wrapped in the garb of high-sounding phrases, disguise its mean spirit.”

Where can we get this garb Tony Blair? Because the sun’s out and our spring look really needs an update. And we’ve heard that disguising a mean spirit is an essential element of this season’s capsule wardrobe. Can we take it from desk to dance floor if we change our shoes? We do hope so.

Today in parallel structure

Today’s top marks for parallel structure go to Miliband and Farage respectively:

 “The NHS cannot go forward if queues to see the GP are stretching backwards”

 The message from the Labour Party is that it wants the British people to trust it, yet will not trust the British people to decide how they are governed.”

Boom boom

It’s Tony Time

The internet’s been awash with ‘Blair always was a great communicator’ chat today. And here’s why:

Different people have different views about how we should approach things. But the important thing is what we share in common. And what we share in common is a deep and profound belief in social justice, a belief that it is the purpose of a Labour government to bring opportunity to those people that don’t have it, and a belief also that it is right that our society, our country and its economy, are run in the interests of the many and not the few.”

In this excerpt, Blair kicks off with the ‘old news, new news’ trick. To do this, you start a sentence in the same way that you ended the one before – with the ‘old news’. Then, you move that old news on in meaning so it becomes ‘new news’. And you do this over, and over again, as much as you want short of being hammy. It’s a pleasing rhetorical build – rhythmical, logical, easy to follow, even easier to subscribe to. It a bit like the linguistic equivalent of a run of dominoes; one sentence knocking into the next one, and the next one, and the next one, and so on until everyone’s in a fired-up oratorical frenzy screaming ‘Look at Tony’s word-dominoes THEY ARE AMAZING!’ Extra props to TB for tying up the whole shebang with a rhetorical three within a rhetorical three and ending it on an opposition. Pure class.

You can see the old news / new news technique put to brilliant use in Barack Obama’s famous last rally address from 2008:

“One voice can change a room. And if a voice can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a nation. And if it can change a nation, it can change the world.”

 Signed, sealed, delivered, WE ARE YOURS, Mr. President.


All aboard the good ship Electioneering

 Yaaaaaarrrhhahaarrrr! The seas be rough m’hearties. But that won’t stop Tony Blair and Nick Clegg using some dubious maritime metaphors….

This issue is too important to be traded like this. It is greatly to Ed Miliband’s credit that he resolutely refused to make that trade. He showed that on this, as on other issues, he is his own man, with his own convictions and determined to follow them even when they go against the tide.”

 Policies aren’t to be traded like spices, or tea, or gold bullion, or football cards, or pogs, alright? Ed Miliband knows that. So he’s umm, sailing against the tide. Away from the trade routes. Do all the trade routes go with the tide? Is that it? Does this even work? Are we overthinking?

 “The only reason that the country has remained anchored in the centre ground and anchored in Europe – rather than allowing the swivel-eyed brigade on the Conservative Party backbenches to take over completely – is because the Liberal Democrats have been in office. The mind boggles to imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t been around to act as a bulwark.”

Because when you’re there, all diligent-like, doing your political bulwarking and whatnot, there is nothing worse than being cast adrift by a load of swivel-eyed backbenchers, AMIRIGHT NICK CLEGG?

 And finally….

Cake for Clegg!

 “I feel we’ve wasted a lot of time with some rather fruitless and rather fruit-cakey policy spasms that don’t make any difference to the education system, which I would have liked to get my hands on more fully.”

 Nick Clegg. Fruitloop.

More from the Quietroom Soapbox tomorrow