In Ancient Rome, the great rhetorician Quintilian said, ‘It is as ridiculous to hunt for rhetorical figures without reference to the matter in hand, as it is to discuss dress and gesture without reference to the body.’
Tomorrow, the matter in hand is the Budget and by far the best rhetorical device for Budgets is the alliterative pair because it creates the impression of balance and order, thereby underlining the true main message of any budget: that it’s balanced and orderly.
You can track this back through history - a price worth paying, prudence for a purpose, the people’s priorities, boom and bust, balance the books, welfare to work and so on.
Osborne has also played with a number of alliterative pairs in the past - repairing the roof and prudence not profligacy spring instantly to mind - but these were soundbites that worked better from the Opposition benches. Tomorrow, he needs something different. He needs to come across as calm, orderly and in control.
Ladbrokes is currently taking bets on which phrases will appear in his speech. http://bit.ly/gcrzYi. I’m surprised they haven’t included ’strong and stable.’ That’s where my money would go.
Posted by Simon Lancaster on March 22nd, 2011 :: Filed under Random
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