Talk about good timing… the must-read new book by Philip Collins on how great speeches shape the world was published the morning after Theresa May elicited deep sympathy from all decent people everywhere. Mrs May did this by producing at her party conference leader’s speech the most calamity laden performance since Bob Dylan took to the stage at Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985 with a grinning Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood in tow having mumbled to his companions that rather than the rehearsed songs they would try something the two stoned Stones didn’t know.

If only the Prime Minister had had access to a copy of Philip’s brilliant book before she took to the collapsing stage in Manchester this week. In When they go low, we go high, he explains with characteristic insight why great speeches matter and why we need more of them.

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Incidentally, I think it should have been the other way round in the book title – When they go high, we go low – but that’s just me being grumpy at the end of a party conference season in which I became increasingly concerned that Britain will end up with a Marxist Chancellor unless everyone is very careful.

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