The Oxford Union held a debate on the motion “This House Has No Confidence in Her Britannic Majesty’s Police Force“. It is by any measure a sensitive subject so I intend to cover four of the speeches in the debate.
I have already examined speeches by Anthony Stansfeld, and Graham Stringer MP. I shall be covering one by Damian Green MP, but today it is the turn of David Davis MP.
In previous postings we have seen Davis enjoying this debate, chortling like a schoolboy at quips from other speakers, but now that he is on his feet he is immediately businesslike. Yes there are a couple of lighter sentences to settle the audience, but he hastens to cut to the chase.
He goes for the data. He reels off case after case where police officers at all levels of seniority have been either on the take or covering for colleagues that were. He reveals an alarming amount of corruption; and his having been Shadow Home Secretary I am inclined to assume that he has had access to all the necessary evidence. If I might reveal my own prejudice I am also inclined to believe him because his position on a range of issues, from civil liberties, supremacy of parliament, etc. paints him in my eyes as one of the good guys. He’s a blower-away of bullshit. Yes, politically I am a fan. Oh how I wish he’d won in 2005!
He engages the audience very effectively, not least because he looks at them. He is shooting from the hip almost entirely. Yes he has papers on the despatch box, but he glances only very occasionally for guidance. You can tell how effectively he engages the audience even with your eyes closed – perhaps better with your eyes closed. Listen for coughing: listen for any indications of restlessness: you listen in vain. He has that audience where he wants it.
He uses his hands and face very well, mainly because their use is entirely unconscious and driven by his well-harnessed message. He is in the driving seat, his engine is passion, the steering wheel is his structure, the brakes are his self-discipline. It’s a devastatingly businesslike formula.