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academic commentary on political discourse

Quote of the week

“Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a titanic success of it.”

Boris Johnson, 2nd November 2016

Slip of the tongue

A slip of the tongue from Jeremy Corbyn during PMQs.

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The semantics and pragmatics of ‘Brexit means Brexit’

We have been tracking the use of the slogan ‘Brexit means Brexit’ at neutralfooting. At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday we learnt a little more about its use though the Prime Minister who originally coined this soundbite.

Continue reading “The semantics and pragmatics of ‘Brexit means Brexit’”

Oy you, spit out your gum and shut up!

Politeness in the House of Commons takes on many forms but is often exhibited through off-record, negative and positive politeness. Here is an excellent example of how the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, avoids direct face-threatening language as he attempts to chide a noisy and boisterous MP (MacNeill) and remind him that chewing gum is not allowed in the chamber.

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Quote of the week

“You know what some people call them? The nasty party.”

Theresa May, 5th October 2016

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Brexit means breakfast!

Slips of the tongue can be embarrassing for the speaker at the best of times but often provide light relief for the audience. So it was with the Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew Davies, who was speaking at the Conservative party conference yesterday. Davies meant to say “we will make Brexit a success” but instead said “breakfast”.

Continue reading “Brexit means breakfast!”

Quote of the week

“The problem was that while those in my party were relaxing many of those “filthy rich” were not paying the taxes they should have been.”

Who said this on 15th September 2016?

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Strategies for holding the floor

Holding the floor in the House of Commons during PMQs is not easy. With noise, shouting and barracking from members of the chamber, it can be quite easy for the current speaker at the dispatch box to become ruffled. This could potentially lead to a loss of face and sometimes the floor if The Speaker decides to intervene. Continue reading “Strategies for holding the floor”

Equivocation – the first penalty shoot-out of the season

Just as the new football season gets underway with the same old tricks and moves, so the new political seasons kicks off this week. Andrew Neil (Daily Politics interviewer) went up against David Gauke (Conservative MP) in the first penalty shoot-out of the season. As MPs do, Gauke brought his ‘equivocation gloves’ to the studio to defend against the interviewer’s penalty kicks. Continue reading “Equivocation – the first penalty shoot-out of the season”

The power of the eyes

In face-to-face communication, the eyes (and eye gaze) are the most powerful part of the body we have. John McDonnell illustrated this on Sunday when he directly turned to the camera during an interview on the Andrew Marr show (BBC). The change in gaze from interviewer to viewer (and then back) provided a powerful shift from the traditional interview format to one addressing the television viewer.

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Tetchiness from Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn got a little ‘tetchy’ in his interview with Jackie Long on Channel 4 news yesterday. Corbyn seems to have these moments when being interviewed on national TV particularly when he is running for a leadership contest. Here he is sparring with Krishnan Guru-Murthy in 2015 when he was first running for the Labour leadership.

Continue reading “Tetchiness from Corbyn”

Quote of the week

“Remain means remain”

Angus Robertson, 20th July 2016

PMQs watch: Theresa May’s first outing – a touch of Thatcher perhaps?

Theresa May delivered her first Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon and came through the event relatively unscathed with a touch of “Thatcher” to her performance as some commentators noted.

Her former boss, David Cameron, developed a competent, confident and charismatic approach to PMQs. May scored well in two of these areas but lacked the charisma of her former boss. Continue reading “PMQs watch: Theresa May’s first outing – a touch of Thatcher perhaps?”

May’s first PMQs

Theresa May, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will perform her first Prime Minister’s questions (PMQs) on Wednesday in the House of Commons. PMQs is known to be a testing ground for new Prime Minister’s and leaders – their performance at PMQs can often be a sign of the quality and leadership potential as perceived by the media and the public.

Theresa May has a lot to live up to since the previous Prime Minister, David Cameron, was considered to be a master of PMQs. Prime Minister’s need to know their brief but also strike the right tone between competence, confidence and charisma. It will be interesting to see how she performs. Continue reading “May’s first PMQs”

 Quote of the week

“I was the future once.”

David Cameron, PMQs, July 2016

 

PMQs Watch: Humour at Cameron’s last PMQs

Politicians are not noted for their stand-up comedy routines, but there was plenty of good humour at David Cameron’s last Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Many of the jokes were scripted and some fell a little flat as members struggled with their delivery. However the sense of occasions and the fact that it was the politicians delivering the jokes, at their own expense in some cases, meant that there were some genuinely funny moments worthy of Mock the Week or Have I Got News For You. Continue reading “PMQs Watch: Humour at Cameron’s last PMQs”

Five telling moments from David Cameron at PMQs

David Cameron will take part in his last PMQs as Prime Minister on Wednesday. Cameron has been at the dispatch box answering questions most Wednesday afternoons since he became PM in 2010, although he spent several years asking questions as Leader of the Opposition before that. Continue reading “Five telling moments from David Cameron at PMQs”

Quote of the week

“Brexit means Brexit”

Theresa May, 11th July 2016

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Damian Green’s odd hesitation pattern

Most politicians are quite adept at side-stepping difficult questions so it was a surprise to hear Conservative MP Damian Green get somewhat tongue-tied when asked to reveal something about Teresa May on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme.  Continue reading “Damian Green’s odd hesitation pattern”

Quote of the week

“I will be with you, whatever.”

Tony Blair, July 2002 (to G.W. Bush)

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