Public Speaking Expert
Boris Johnson is not known for his mild mannered ways so it comes as no surprise to find a recent speech by the current mayor of London making the headlines across the UK.
It seems fitting that the themes used many times by Margaret Thatcher during her political speeches were dawn on for the latest speech by Boris Johnson being as the speech was delivered at the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture. But while some old school Conservative followers may find the themes of the speech enticing, others have criticised the eccentric politician, not least for his use of levels of IQ as a way to predict the success of a person.
Speaking at the lecture Boris Johnson said: “Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16% of our species have an IQ below 85 while about 2% …” he said then after asked: “Over 16% anyone? Put up your hands”.
The speech which sounded like it would have been more suitable for an audience in the 1980s continued with Boris Johnson promoting the idea that “the spirit of envy” was essential to promoting growth in the country with many people pointing out that this sounded a lot like the “greed is good” speech made by Margaret Thatcher.
He was keen to state that he was thinking along the same lines of Thatcher when he said: “I stress – I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity.”
However he added that this type of conservatism needed to be updated for the 21st century: “”I hope there is no return to the spirit of loadsamoney heartlessness – figuratively riffling banknotes under the noses of the homeless – and I hope that this time the Gordon Gekkos of London are conspicuous not just for their greed, valid motivator though greed may be for economic progress, as for what they give and do for the rest of the population, many of whom have experienced real falls in their incomes over the last five years.”
Boris Johnson managed to get everyone talking when he spoke about the super rich in the UK: “An awful lot of schools and roads and hospitals that are being paid for by the super-rich. So why, I asked innocently, are they so despicable in the eyes of all decent British people? Surely they should be hailed like the Stakhanovites of Stalin’s Russia, who half-killed themselves, in the name of the people, by mining record tonnages of coal?”
He added: “It seems to me that though it would be wrong to persecute the rich, and madness to try and stifle wealth creation, and futile to stamp out inequality, we should only tolerate this wealth gap on two conditions. One, that we help those who genuinely cannot compete; and two, that we provide opportunity for those who can.”
Love him or hate him, Boris certainly knows how to make a speech that has everyone talking!