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Rhetorically speaking…
Speechwriters Blog on Speechwriting

Stormy waters

Nice use of metaphor by Brown today as he unveiled Whitehall’s worst-kept secret, that the Budget will be held on 24th March.

He’s run with a ’stormy waters’ metaphor.

‘Whilst we have come through the worst of this dreadful storm, the waters are still choppy. We have got through this storm together, but there are still substantial risks ahead. It’s about having the courage to set your mission and the courage to take tough decisions and stick to them without being blown off course. We are weathering the storm. Now is no time to turn back. We will hold to our course and we will complete this mission.’

This metaphor improves Brown’s positioning on two counts.

1. By suggesting that the economic downturn was a force of nature, he counters any suggestion that it might have been the consequence of Government action or inaction.

2. By pitching GB as the captain of a ship sailing stormy waters, it strengthens the case for him staying on, as we all know that to change captain mid-stream would be reckless.


Posted by Simon Lancaster on March 10th, 2010 :: Filed under Random
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2 Responses to “Stormy waters”

  1. Jessica Sarhan
    March 12th, 2010

    Couldn’t agree more!

    His use of ’storm’ imagery is also an example of the sublime, by using such purposeful language he is able to conjure up feelings of power within his listeners. I think that his constant use of ‘we’ and ‘our’ is an effective method of deflecting the attention from him. By moving away from the individual and concentrating on the collective, Brown is able to aggrandise the problem to a universal one that we are all suffering together and all have to work together to solve. I think that his use of short sentences and repetition make the speech much more forceful. As for his storm imagery, I think that it is rather inspiring and powerful, maybe Brown is now using rhetoric to try and motivate the public and spur on support for him.

  2. Keith Davis
    March 16th, 2010

    Hi Simon
    Nice analysis and two great points you make.

    Force of nature… not my fault.

    I’m your captain, leader, stay with me.

    I wonder how well that works on the average person just listening to the speech.
    I guess it must have some effect!

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