In the House of Commons in the British Parliament last Wednesday 18 August, A spellbinding speech was delivered by Tom Tugendhat MP.
If his name is unfamiliar to you and you clicked it to learn about him on the hyperlinked page, you will quickly suspect that he was talking about the tragedy that is currently Afghanistan. You will of course be right. It was because of the Afghanistan crisis that Parliament was sitting at all.
The crisis caused a special recall of Members from their summer recess on that day, and they were crowded onto the benches.
They listened intently to this emotional speech, delivered with quiet, restrained passion by a man who had walked the walk, was now talking the talk, and somehow holding himself together.
They listened in silence till he shattered the pained decorum with a beautiful aside that granted the relief of an explosive laugh. If you think that must have been in poor taste, you haven’t yet heard it. I can spot a joke that has been deployed often enough for the timing to have been perfected. This was one, and he was right to use it here.
It was the only sound from the House till another MP intervened to deploy a parliamentary technical trick to bestow upon Tugendhat enough time to finish. And the next sound after that was the warm applause from both sides of the House when he did finish.
The applause was well deserved. It was an outstanding speech.