Friday, 8 March 2013


I've commented previously (in the context of Ted Baillieu) about how the pace of politics has increased in recent decades, and also about the role of speechwriters in politics.

Coincidentally, I was flicking through one of Menzies' books of reminiscences, The Measure of the Years, and came across his statement:
"The art of speech is much admired and widely practised.  Yet, the standard of achievement seems singularly lacking". 

It seems that little has changed in this regard - except, perhaps, now we pay insufficient attention to the art of speech and so no longer admire a good speech when we hear it.  There again, are there even fewer good speeches these days than in his day?

But Menzies also says:
" part of the exercise of high office, the institution of the speechwriter has arisen, particularly in America.  I never employed a speechwriter myself, partly because I had an obstinate objection to having other people's words put into my mouth, and partly because, except for formal lectures and statements on foreign affairs made by me in Parliament, my practice has been to speak from brief notes, allowing the language to come spontaneously as the actual speech developed".

Interestingly, Menzies then goes on to mention that Winston Churchill read practically all his speeches - although he wrote them (or at least, dictated them) himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment