8 October 2015

In the written transcripts, he describes London as the greatest capital city on earth, but he missed a key word and now, on social media and in public opinion, it’s recorded quite differently.

david cameron taken from twitter

Image from @David_Cameron.

Twitter yesterday was filled with posts chiding Cameron’s description of London as ‘the greatest city on earth’ considering he delivered the speech in rival city Manchester. One word difference. But, one word that completely changes the impact and perception of what he is saying.

London is our capital city and for which it is natural to show pride, but missing this word out shows an already hinted at favouritism of the UK’s southern hub and has certainly stoked the fires on social media.

Whilst Cameron, quite rightly, noted that, as demonstrated by the election results, Britain and Twitter are not the same thing; invariably an overwhelmingly negative reaction online has an effect in the offline world.

Tensions, as usual, are already running high in Manchester, protests are on-going and barriers have been moved even further back to reduce the egg-throwing and spitting incidents as delegates arrive at the conference. Missing that word has inevitably stoked the fire in the protesters’ bellies further. As politics reporter Jamie Ross commented, it has real potential to tip the protesters over the edge.

With talk of Mancunian devolution and the Northern Powerhouse (and the withdrawal of funding for public transport to make happen) high on the public agenda, it is very much front of mind that Westminster’s priorities seemingly lie below the Watford Gap. Not to mention the impact that a few rather embarrassing headlines have had on public opinion of the party and our PM.

Outside of business, on a personal level, it does the party no favours in the notoriously anti-Tory north of England. Home cities are a thing of furious pride. Your sports team, your accent and your habits are all local to your home town or city – and I would bet that most of us believe our own home city is the greatest in the world. Although St Asaph is a little less well-equipped than London!

It is a seemingly innocuous difference that could have huge ripple effects. It is worth remembering the next time you deliver a speech or talk and asking ‘are there sentences that become controversial if I miss a word and remember it differently? I can’t imagine the pressure of speaking so publicly on a global stage but, in my opinion, his advisors should’ve edited this line to avoid a potential faux pas.

What do you think? Does it matter? Are you offended by the PM calling London the greatest city?

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