I recall watching a video blog Alex Salmond made in 2010 at the time when he departed the House of Commons where he bemoaned the fact that Westminster had lacked many of the political characters of the past. At the time, I concurred with his sentiment and still do to this very day. At the time, I concurred with his sentiment and still do to this very day.
As you may have learned in recent times, I am hoping to become an elected representative, God willing. There is no doubt that putting your constituents first, looking after the needs of the area you represent and being a first port of call are the primary objectives when holding political office. But, like life, politics is and should be an art. It should be colourful, it must be exciting and it must always aspire to become enthralling. Many people don’t cast a ballot compared to before, because they are uninspired by what they see on the television, hear on the radio or view online. Some say politics is show business for ugly people, but the real ugliness is politics being practiced in a monotonous manner.
As someone who enjoys public speaking, I was totally delighted to see how well Mhairi Black MP performed in the House of Commons when she stood before the chamber to make her maiden speech. She shattered the myth that age and inexperience are barriers when it comes to making people listen. She was witty, she was succinct and she was straight talking. Like her fellow SNP Westminster Parliamentarians, she put any doubts to bed about the competence and talent of the group and has got people excited about politics in Scotland and beyond.
And whilst it was rather annoyingly disappointing that the BBC’s Reporting Scotland programme cast a negative light on Mhairi’s speech and didn’t give it the fair coverage it deserved (please don’t think I am expecting them to completely become SNP cheerleaders by the way, I just wanted them to put in a little more journalistic effort into how historic a moment it was to see a 20 year old politician make such a significant speech), it was very heartening to see social media in full swing, reacting to the event as a whole and even to see the print press from all over the political spectrum recognise how historic this occasion was. There has been a selection of superb maiden speeches since the election in May, but Mhairi Black’s one in particular gives a lot of hope that she will be potentially one of the most memorable characters of Scottish and UK politics in years to come.
She is a major source of inspiration for me. I have a new motto that I intend to utilise again and again in the months and years ahead – I vow never to be boring. Whether I become an elected politician or not, I want to entertain as well as inform my audience, because they deserve to be enthralled. They do not deserve to have their time wasted and won’t appreciate that either. The key to success with public speaking in politics is to deliver relevant messages in a reasonable manner that will enlighten those listening.
The public deserve to have politicians who will treat politics as an art as well as a profession. It should be fun, it should be passionate and it should provoke minds. Public speaking is a key element of politics and it should be performed well. Style and substance must combine cohesively and marry with ease in order to make sure that the key messages are fed through to the electorate smoothly and with ease of understanding. There are many examples of politicians from the past and even now who grab my attention regardless of whether I agree with their political point of view or not – Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, Tony Benn, David Davis, Tommy Sheridan, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Charles Kennedy and even Jacob-Rees Mogg as well as Mhairi Black are just some examples alongside many more.
In conclusion, I repeat my main promise – I vow never to be boring. And if I put you to sleep, then for goodness sake give me a good damn shake!