By Malcolm H. Kerr

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Interestingly, David Owen substituted 'Our new politics' for the less personal 'The new politics' (published version). After the comparatively long initial criticism of the Labour and Conservative parties, tlJe speaker returns to the interplay of speaker/audience/s with a disdainful 'Now let's leave 36 The Language of Political Leadership in Britain them [the other parties] alone'. ' 1 tell you, the situation is neither as bad as Labour pretends nor as good as the Conservatives claim. Let's be objective (12) This passage contains several significant features.

The origin of this status, which allowed him, and them, to form the party, was based not upon his previous membership of and status within the Labour Party, nor even upon his exercise of parliamentary membership, but upon significant experience of government, something which distinguished him and the other creators of the party from all other SDP members. And, in the case of David Owen, his position as ex-Foreign Secretary, which allowed him to suggest his global vision of reality, enhanced his standing still further.

SDP discourse, and particularly its leadership discourse, had, therefore, to be anti-party in this sense also, that is to say, as disdainful of high rhetoric as it was of backroom political discourse. The Social Democratic Party portrayed itself from its inception as a party of ordinary (educated) Britons who rejected both (high and low) manifestations of political discourse. This, however, creates a fundamental problem for leadership discourse in terms of its establishing an ideologythrough-discourse which was itself necessary if the wider electorate was to identify the party over a period of time.

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Islamic Reform The Political and Legal Theories of Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida by Malcolm H. Kerr


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