Tag Archives: Cameron


The dictionary definition for gesture politics reads: “Any action by a person or organisation done for political reason and intended to attract public attention but having little real effect”. A recent example was the high profile use of Home Office Vans telling illegal immigrants to GO HOME!

David Cameron is no more guilty of gesture politics than the rest of them- Milliband, Clegg, Osborne, Balls-it’s a staple of political life.

Where he is the master  is in his powerful, practised use of gesture when speaking. Continue reading

David Cameron and the ‘rule of three’.

The Party Conference season is already a distant memory, overtaken by the fun the media are having with Liam Fox and Adam Werritty. In truth the conferences were not that newsworthy and the speeches from all sides uninspired. Amidst this mediocrity, Cameron, without scaling the heights of his leadership winning “No notes Cameron” speech five years ago, stood apart.


 It was not a great speech but it was cleverly constructed. Philip Collins in The Times analysed it making this observation.

“Rule of three; three rules. The first full paragraph of the speech tells the story in miniature. It is already obvious that whatever we think of the content of the argument, there is a structure here on which to hang the material. There are three questions and we shall take them in order. He ends this summary of the speech with the operative word: leadership.”

Here is that first paragraph.

People have a very clear instruction for this Government; “Lead us out of this economic mess.” ” Do it in away that’s fair and right.” “And as you do it, make sure you build something worthwhile for us and our children.” Clear instructions. Clear objectives. And from me a clear understanding that in these difficult times it is leadership we need. 

Armed with this clear, signposted, easily communicated ‘three’ structure Cameron could focus on his delivery, giving a performance of command and confidence. Leadership in action. Essential to the winning pitch.

Winning and losing body language!

When the pressure is really on body language is usually an accurate indicator of who is really up for it and who is not.  We saw this last week!

Winners include  David Cameron  and George Osborne. Both have visibly grown into their new roles. Cameron already looks and acts the part on the world stage, exuding confidence. Osborne handled the toughest of budgets, the speech and the interviews, with genuine poise and control. Impressive.


Two relatively unknown tennis players, Iszner and Mahut, handled eleven hours of unbelievable competitive pressure, one with a deliberate high energy demonstration, the other in energy conservation mode.  But both, as the close-ups showed, were  in their own  zones of focused unyielding determination. Unreal!

Compare this with the week’s (very big) losers.


Capello a few short weeka ago looked like a winner. Strong, silent, standing tall with arms folded, a man in command. Since arriving in South Africa he has been a changed man. Angry words, increasingly manic, and mystified, body language. He no longer looked a winner.

Much the same happened to the team. They never looked as if they were thrilled or delighted to be taking part and that was before they went on the pitch. The words spoken were either unpleasant petulance, Terry, or subdued mumbles, Lampard. The only one who looked positive was James once reinstated!

On the pitch you did not need to know the score to tell they were losers.

The TV debate. (4) Lessons from Obama?

It has just been reported that both Cameron and Brown are hiring consultants who helped Obama to help them as they face  the TV debates, potentially more vital as the gap narrows. Help!

 Their ‘joint’ decisions influenced presumably by the fact that America has done more of it for longer and by the power of ‘brand’ Obama.  But are they both right?


Taking Obama first. His truly great performances have been as orator, calling for very different skills to those of the live debate. No one is challenging, the audience is ‘out there’ ready to be captivated by virtuoso performance, two teleprompters his best friends.

Incidentally, Cameron’s own best so far performance was his famous, leadership winning, ‘no notes’ speech at Blackpool. But the debate calls for something different and although Obama won his against McCain, the competition was not up to much.  Since then his more intimate television interviews have not impressed.

America and Britain being divided by a common language is another reason to treat with caution the Obama victory-claiming consultants. And we still do not know the format for the debates as all sides seek to negotiate the least risky formula.


Given these caveats what should our three reality show contestants be seeking from their learned consultants? Basically, how to be both relaxed and confident enough to be themselves, allowing us the viewers to feel we have met them.

This may well be easier for Nick Clegg. He needs to inject an element of surprise but he  comes across naturally and more conversationally than his rivals.

 For David Cameron it has become more difficult as his constant exposure has left the impression of  someone whose only communication mode is one of  ‘finger wagging’ over-emphasis, where charm and the art of conversation come second.

Gordon Brown has survived the bullying barrage and if anything the polls suggest he has benefitted, perhaps because of a glimpse of the real person, however many warts.  As ever when he is bad, he is very very bad, but when he is good then the others should look out.

Perhaps he would do better with Piers Morgan as his consultant.

The TV Debate.(1) How we will judge them.

 With the general election now in sight, our three plucky contestants are gearing up for the ultimate TV reality show.  It could be better than anything from Simon Cowell. For them, it is the pitch of a lifetime and who better to help them in their preparation  than Pitch Coach!


This, the first in a series of pitchcoach precepts for our aspiring leaders, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg,  looks at how we the viewers will be judging them. How will we be assessing who is the right one to lead us out of the abyss?

Well, it won’t be on our evaluation of their policies. It will be on our assessment of their performances.

Following Obama’s victory over McCain, in the presidential TV debates in America,  a report in the Sunday Times evaluated them against these  eight criteria: 






6. TONE,



Only one of these relates to policy, the content of their answers!  The others are all functions of the way they perform,  of their attitude and of their personalities-or rather as they come across on screen.

As with any pitch, or interview, it will be a question of:  Do we like them? Have they connected with us emotionally?

 But, unlike ‘any’ pitch, millions will be watching. Unlike ‘any’ pitch they are in direct confrontation with their competitors. A single gaffe can undo years of campaigning!

Ideas on preparation,  rehearsals, candidate characteristics,  the interviewers, classic gaffes are all to come in later posts. Meanwhile reader input to the big pitch countdown is welcome!