Ian Duncan Smith: humour and passion

I have a stock of speeches on which I draw when the supply of topical material thins. That supply is drying up. I wonder why…

Today we look at a speech from the beginning of last year, January 2019. A meeting of the Brexit Party, with its slogan “Leave Means Leave”, was addressed by the Rt Hon Ian Duncan Smith – widely known in Britain as IDS.

He makes early reference to an invasion by a mob which, during the previous speech, had invaded, chanted, and been invited to depart. I thought I’d tell you that, because otherwise a couple of seconds near the beginning of his speech would make no sense.

Then he pays deserved tribute to Kate Hoey, sitting behind him. She was on this blog not so long ago.

IDS does humour! More than twenty years ago he had a brief spell as leader of the Conservative party, and the Mainstream Media swung into their customary smear-fest. He was painted as being devoid of personality. Since stepping down from that he has studied, researched, and campaigned passionately on Work & Pensions, a brief not known to be all-singing-all-dancing, so that dreary image of him has rather stuck. How refreshing to see him opening with a very humorous passage, excellently delivered with skilled timing, several interim laughs and ultimately leading to a stunning punchline.

Then he turns to the passion, and very passionate it is. I tell my trainees that passion is worth bucketfuls of technique, but the dream ticket is to have both. IDS has both.

Even though the matter of Brexit is not currently headlines, it’s interesting to note those of his observations that still apply to our current predicament.

For instance, at 6:40 he talks of how the Establishment and its media echo-chamber delight in denigrating Britain. Every day during this current pandemic fiasco we are repeatedly misled about how the UK has Europe’s highest death-rate. In absolute terms, maybe, but not per capita. Taken per unit of population we are somewhere around the middle of the league table, but the bottom-feeders in the media never say so. If they wonder why readership and viewing figures are plummeting, it’s because the truth that belies their fake news is easily available on line.

The media also screams that USA has the world’s highest death rate, whereas again per capita it’s near the UK in the middle of the world’s league table. The unenviable top of the European table is San Marino, with a per capita death rate almost three times Britain’s; and if you take Manhattan out of the sample USA’s death rate is very low. The media never tell you that. It has long been said that a free press is a bedrock of a civilised society. It’s time to add a free internet to that; and even now the internet is threatened.

At 8:15 IDS has another go at the Establishment’s hatred for Britain, and swings into talking of his father’s generation in the war. They fought for freedom.

Hmmm. Freedom. Remember that stuff? Various wise people have made the observation over the ages that any society that endangers freedom, in favour of safety, winds up with neither.

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