Friday, 24 April 2015

Kezia of the Fourth Form

Yesterday I was travelling into the city on a train.  Sitting on the other side of the of the corridor was a teenage schoolgirl with her phone glued to her ear, regaling whoever was on the other end of the conversation with all the latest drama in her life, including torrid romances, breakups and secret affairs.  One young lady in particular must have had her ears burning as her character was thoroughly assassinated, all in breathless sentences ending in the upward inflection known as uptalk, making every sentence almost a question.

Later in the day I was watching First Minister's Questions when Kezia Dugdale brought up the issue of Neil Hay and some Tweets that he made under an anonymous account which she claimed were a heinous example of trolling by a Nationalist.  When this was countered with examples of tweets from Ian Smart, a Labour MP,  Ms Dugdale claimed not to be aware of them despite the fact that she follows Mr Smart on Twitter.  Poor preparation there, Ms Dugdale.  It was an obvious comeback and one that should have been anticipated.

While listening to Ms Dugdale perorate at length, she reminded me of that schoolgirl on the train.  She speaks in the manner of a keen student reciting a speech which she has learnt off by heart.  The kind of pupil who is diligent and earnest but doesn't have that spark about her that makes teachers think of her as someone who will achieve great things.  Rather she is somewhere in the middle of the class, neither outstandingly good or bad. Compare and contrast with Nicola Sturgeon, who speaks fluently and with fire.

If Ms Dugdale wants to reach the upper echelons of politics I'd suggest that she needs coaching in how to be an effective speaker.  As it is, it's hard to take her seriously.

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