As the story circulates the media that Gordon Brown paid $40,000 for West Wing Writers to ‘tailor’ speeches for a US target audience, what is the contraversy? Well, in times of supposed thrift, and given Mr Brown’s personal reputation for counting pennies, it’s a large sum of money. To the consultants who were on Clinton’s team, it’s a few days work, though, surely…
Reading the coverage, it smacks of two other ‘disgusted in Tunbridge Wells’ themes:
1. Unease that Gordon doesn’t write this stuff himself.
2. Shame that no-one in the UK could come up with the goods.
Number 1 is plain naieve. Go back to Churchill for that sort of style and talent. Number 2, I can agree with. As I spend my days thinking about how to target communication to audiences as diverse as medical reps on the road in Berkshire, junior members of governments ooh anywhere and bored middle management waiting for lifts in Central London, surely someone, somewhere (not in Washington, not for $40,000) could have been trusted to come up with the goods? Targetting communication is one skill, so is writing speeches for an individual that you understand, know, work with. The words are coming up out of one person’s mouth, they need to sound like his, have some truth about them, he needs to own them…
For those of us who believe the West Wing is real, that Martin Sheen was President and that Presidential speeches turn the mood of a nation, we would like to think that Toby and Josh would make Gordon a star on the Hill.
The truth is, that now the ‘news’ is out, some consultants that we’ve never heard of have developed some words that will forever be perceived as lacking authenticity, over-crafted, a waste of money…and not Gordon’s own.
Not entirely accurate, in fact, the words are already forgotten.