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  1. Long reads
4 February 2010

Great political speeches

The New Statesman's top ten UK political speeches.

By Staff Blogger

With the help of some of our contributors, we have picked our top ten political speeches. For the sake of space, we limited ourselves to those made in the UK or by British politicians in the postwar period, which means no Barack Obama or Martin Luther King. Our list is by no means exhaustive, and we’ve also included a couple that didn’t quite make the cut. Please leave us your suggestions for others you’d like to see in the list.

1. Aneurin Bevan, anti-Suez speech, Trafalgar Square rally, November 1956

2. Enoch Powell, speech on the Hola Camp in Kenya, House of Commons, July 1959

3. Harold Macmillan, speech to the South African parliament, Cape Town, February 1960

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4. Hugh Gaitskell, speech on nuclear disarmament, Labour party conference, 1960

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5. Margaret Thatcher, Brighton bomb speech, Conservative party conference, October 1984

6. Neil Kinnock, Militant speech, Labour party conference, October 1985

7. Sir Geoffrey Howe, resignation speech, House of Commons, November 1990

8. Robin Cook, resignation speech, House of Commons, March 2003

9. David Cameron, leadership bid, Conservative party conference, October 2005

10. Tony Blair, last conference speech, Labour party conference, September 2006

11. Three more that didn’t quite make the cut

 

In this week’s New Statesman is a feature on the art of political speech writing