‘Figuring the Audience, Addressing the Nation: political speech writing on national identity’

The Network for Oratory and Politics presented a one-day workshop at University College London Monday, 4th July 2016.

This workshop gathered political journalists, speech writers and academics in a discussion of the ways in which political speech writers and political speakers tailor speeches on national identity to the intended audience. In light of the current political debates about national identities in the UK, Britain vis-à-vis the EU and Scotland vis-à-vis the rest of the UK, this workshop presented papers on political speech writing aiming to address the nation and offering narratives of national identity and belonging.

We were joined by Professor Richard Toye (University of Exeter), Andrew Grice (Political Editor at The Independent), Dr Andrew Crines (University of Liverpool) and Dr Judi Atkins (University of Coventry) for what was an exciting day of topical debate on subjects which gave diverse and hugely engaging perspectives past and present on political oratory and the rhetoric of ‘Britishness.’


You can see a programme for the day below:


11.00 Arrival

11.15 Welcome (Gesine Manuwald/Ernest Schonfield)

Session 1: chair Ernest Schonfield (Network for Oratory and Politics/University of Glasgow)

11.30 Richard Toye (University of Exeter): ‘Churchill's European Rhetoric Reconsidered: the Zurich speech seventy years on

12.15 Andrew Grice (The Independent): ‘The EU referendum campaign – the rhetoric and the reality

(Find the full text of Andrew Grice's speech here)

13.00 Sandwich lunch

Session 2: chair Gesine Manuwald (Network for Oratory and Politics/University College London)

13.45 Andrew Crines (University of Liverpool): ‘The Eurosceptic Rhetoric of Margaret Thatcher

14.30 Judi Atkins (Coventry University): ‘"Our Island Story": David Cameron’s Narrative of Britain and British Identity

(Find a link to Dr Judi Atkin's paper here)

15.15 Tea and Coffee

16.30 Closing discussion


You can find a summary of the event on our blog.