Philip Collins, who wrote the 90-minute speech to the most loyal of the Labor Party, said the play had “absolutely” lasted too long and that some of the parts were “a bit baggy” and even “boring”. Yet Mr Collins, former speechwriter for former Prime Minister and Labor leader Tony Blair, said he “loved” the poetry and the many very personal sections of the speech, adding that the Labor leader “deserves the merit “for the way he handled many heckling from the crowd.
“It would have been unprofessional not to be prepared… but you can’t be sure what the intervention is, or what sort of thing would be the appropriate response. So a lot depends on the person up there on the podium. I still think Keir deserves credit for handling it well because it’s not easy, ”Mr. Collins said of the heckling speech and handling.
Addressing the overall length of the speech, Mr Collins told Politico: “He was getting standing ovations for things that were in fact just boring lines meant to get you to the next stage of the speech.”
Blaming crowd interactions as the reason for the 90-minute address, he said, “It got ridiculous. So I think he got 20 standing ovations or something, and applauded for all kinds of things, which really lengthened the speech.
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As Sir Keir came under pressure from voters and Labor Party members for his lack of leadership, the speechwriter added: “He was delighted, as it was a real feeling that the conference was coming to his aid. But that did mean the momentum was a bit lost, and then it took longer to get through than you ever thought. “
Speaking of the length of the text he wrote, Mr Collins said: “In actual word count, it wasn’t even a particularly long speech. It’s just that it took so long because the theater took over.
Enjoying his own favorite part of the speech, Mr. Collins was proud of the ending, based on a poem by Seamus Heaney called “Digging.”
He said: “I really liked it because it was really unconventional… Instead of ending with something huge and exciting, it ended with a kind of diminuendo.
“As with many political speeches, engaging audiences for long speeches is very difficult.
“The policy is very, very difficult to achieve. If you don’t include them, everyone will write that you have nothing to say, that you are empty. So you include them – knowing that probably everyone is going to say ‘oh, that’s so boring when you get into all of this.’
Mocking reporters who were waiting in the lobby to cover the speech after it was concluded, Mr Collins said with a mockery: “My heart is bleeding for them.”
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Sir Keir’s speech is nothing compared to others around the world.
Former Indian Finance Minister VK Krishna Menon holds the record for longest political speech in UN history, explaining India’s position on Kashmir, the minister addressed the United Nations on subject for 7 hours.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro also took the UN on a four-and-a-half-year journey in 1960, followed by a 7-hour speech in 1986.
In the UK, the record goes to Stewart Stevenson, when in 2004 he gave a speech on Suicide Prevention Week lasting 23 hours and 51 minutes.