Communicator of the Week: Mike Freer MP
12th February 2013
When you only a have a few minutes to make an argument – to get your message across – it is often most effectively done by telling a story, to engage your audience, giving them something they will remember. This technique is used by successful leaders in business and politics and is the subject of an excellent book by BBC presenter Gavin Esler 'Lessons From The Top'. Last week – as the House of Commons debated a Bill to make same-sex marriage legal - Conservative MP Mike Freer, surrounded by colleagues with opposing views to his, did just this.
Such was the interest in the debate that each MP only had a maximum of three minutes to make their speech; Freer delivered the standout speech with passion, authenticity and humour. While others delivered turgid prose which failed to make a connection with real people Freer, the MP for Finchley, used his own experience to ensure his argument resonated with those listening to the debate. He further elevated his words by giving his audience something to remember about him and his views. As he said afterwards in an interview with The Independent, it wasn’t widely known that Freer is gay or in a civil partnership with his partner of 21 years. It is now.
He included a memorable sound bite which was almost Churchillian in its formation and was used by broadcasters and press reporting on the debate: “I am not asking for special treatment; I am simply asking for equal treatment.”
It was a line which summarised the point of view of supporters of the Bill brilliantly and which is very difficult to argue against.
Freer continued by outlining with calmness but real passion his argument; “Today, we have an opportunity to do what is right and to do some good. I am a Member of this Parliament and I say to my colleagues that I sit alongside them in Committee, in the bars and in the Tea Room, and I queue alongside them in the Division Lobby, but when it comes to marriage, they are asking me to stand apart and to join a separate queue. I ask my colleagues, if I am equal in this House, to give me every opportunity to be equal.”
The full text of Mike Freer’s speech is available here and is why he is my Communicator of the Week.
Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications