The Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin hosted a keynote speech in July 2014 by Lord Deben. The IIEA’s own website tells us that his theme was ‘Energy and Climate Change’.
Having been in his audience on one occasion I can personally vouch that Deben is a skilled speaker. Let’s see how well he does on this occasion.
What sort of opening is this? It can most charitably be described as a stumbling-in. Within a very few seconds I have the impression that, his knowing his own adept capacity for motor-mouthing off the top of his head, he has barely given this speech any thought at all. He is going to have to do better than this with an audience of people who are not only intelligent but too busy to put up with being fed inconsequential burble for the next half-hour. I reckon he has worked out the same thing from the faces in front of him. Why else would he direct so much of this early guff at the conference chairman beside him? Could it be that this is the nearest he can find to a comfort zone? I hope not, because the chairman doesn’t look overly impressed either.
Deben lards the burble with some rather lame flannel in an attempt to ingratiate himself, but I don’t think it’s working. We can see only the backs of the heads in the audience front row, but I find the angles of some of those heads a little ominous. The chairman is shooting some nervous glances at the front row also.
Five minutes in, and my hands are over my face. He has said nothing that could not have been covered in fifteen seconds. This is pitiful!
He then tells us that the UK Climate Change Committee, which he chairs, is independent. He proceeds patronizingly to explain and explain and explain, with helpful gestures, what independence means. If the members of this audience have IQs above room temperature, and I have every reason to suppose that they do, they already know better than he does what independence means. He seems to have a very strange idea of it, because he tells us he is so independent that he owed his appointment to ministerial patronage.
Next he lists (or rather doesn’t) the committee’s personnel. Deben surely knows the basic rule that proper nouns of all descriptions are hooks that retain the audience’s attention, yet where are the names of his committee members? From 8:16 till 8:45 he wriggles and squirms while trying to remember one of their names. He gives us several details about the gentleman in question, almost down to his inside leg measurement, but no name. An achingly long pause, punctuated by ‘ums’, ‘ers’ and screwed-up eyes staring into the middle distance tell us very eloquently that he has forgotten the name. He attempts to camouflage this appalling faux pas by then describing, but not naming, other committee members as if this was his intention all along. It doesn’t wash! He has goofed, big time. There are numerous ways to remember such data, including writing them down for God’s sake, but he’s too bloody idle to do any of them.
That I fear is the pattern for the entire speech. He waffles around for half-an-hour with all sorts of ill-considered, misguided and badly expressed nonsense that says nothing and gets no one anywhere. The nearest he comes to any sort of message arrives with his peroration. At around the 26 minute mark he begins to make it very clear what anyone who has peered more than an inch below the surface of the matter already knew, namely that the climate change movement is not about science but politics. It is a device to edge us towards world government. The creed (the best word for it) is political and imperialist and very, very dangerous.
As for the quality of this as a piece of speech-making, what can I say? I see bad speeches by people who haven’t learned how, by people who have all manner of difficulties and problems, but this man can speak. As a result, this disgusts me. He has insulted his audience. He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.