Sunday, 7 June 2009

How to Communicate

Ronald Reagan died five years ago - June 5th 2004. This is from Mark Steyn's Passing Parade:

All weekend long, across the networks, media grandees who’d voted for Carter and Mondale, just like all their friends did, tried to explain the appeal of Ronald Reagan. He was “the Great Communicator”, he had a wonderful sense of humour, he had a charming smile… self-deprecating… the tilt of his head…

All true, but not what matters. Even politics attracts its share of optimistic, likeable men, and most of them leave no trace – like Britain’s “Sunny Jim” Callaghan, a perfect example of the defeatism of western leadership in the 1970s. It was the era of “détente”, a word barely remembered now, which is just as well, as it reflects poorly on us: the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the free world had decided that the unfree world was not a prison ruled by a murderous ideology that had to be defeated but merely an alternative lifestyle that had to be accommodated. Under cover of “détente”, the Soviets gobbled up more and more real estate across the planet, from Ethiopia to Grenada. Nonetheless, it wasn’t just the usual suspects who subscribed to this feeble evasion – Helmut Schmidt, Pierre Trudeau, François Mitterand – but most of the so-called “conservatives”, too – Ted Heath, Giscard d’Estaing, Gerald Ford.

Unlike these men, unlike most other senior Republicans, Ronald Reagan saw Soviet Communism for what it was: a great evil. Millions of Europeans across half a continent from Poland to Bulgaria, Slovenia to Latvia live in freedom today because he acknowledged that simple truth when the rest of the political class was tying itself in knots trying to pretend otherwise. That’s what counts. He brought down the “evil empire”, and all the rest is details.

“The Great Communicator” was effective because what he was communicating was self-evident to all but our decayed elites: “We are a nation that has a government - not the other way around,” he said in his inaugural address. And at the end of a grim, grey decade - Vietnam, Watergate, energy crises, Iranian hostages – Americans decided they wanted a President who looked like the nation, not like its failed government.

Is it just me, or does Gordon Brown look like his government - exhausted, shifty and unpleasant?


Thud said...

I have enjoyed watching brownie and his lackeys implode but now it seeems like voyeurism...I just want it over and done with now.

electro-kevin said...

And what does Cameron look like ? Slick, smooth, witty, educated and debonnaire.

Oh that looks like Britain to a 'T'. Truth is that 'none of the above' is still the honest choice.

Scrobs... said...

The main element of communication is the way to ask questions.

Brown ahs been useless at this and it is clear each time he spouts his mantras, he doesn't ask questions because he never listens.

Five hours to meltdown.

Philipa said...

Scrobs is right - effective communication means being able to listen, and respond.

I'm with Kev on voting tho: "'none of the above' is still the honest choice" for me.

On Broon I agree with Thud: "it seeems like voyeurism". I've never agreed with kicking anyone when they're so down, or delighting in their pain. What sickens me is Bliar calling Broon a liar. Astonishing hypocrisy. It's a wonder Bliar doesn't get struck down where he stands.

Bill Quango MP said...

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Reagan speech at the Brandenburg Gate
Berlin June 12, 1987.

Bill Quango MP said...

Thinking about it.. we could do with a Regan figure now. Only the Teflon smile one has the authority, and the clout, to do it.

"You know, gosh , well ..{dramatic pause}
General Secretary Gordbrowchev, if you seek rest from your demons, if you seek prosperity for the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland {pause, shy smile, decisive friendly hand gesture,}
If you seek liberalisation of the bureaucratic mess you have made, come here to this Hampstead garden Fete. 'I implore you, Mr. Mandelsov... throw down this fool!"

{serious face, fixed stare, more well known but less friendly two digit hand gesture..}.

Applause, sign a few books, leave by helicopter.

electro-kevin said...

On form again. Is this our man ???

idle said...

That's him, e-k.

lilith said...

Him and this lady