April 23, 2004


Attention, conservative politicians! Are there any lefties on your staff? Perhaps you employ them to write speeches. Well, beware! They cannot be trusted, as former speechwriter Christopher Sheil indicates:

I remember once amusing myself back in the late '80s by burying little phrases from Gorbachev's speeches in screeds I used to serve up to a National Party minister. There was nothing included that the minister didn't support, of course, but I enjoyed my secret insider's chuckle as I read hansard, knowing he would have been appalled about the source. And then there was the time I actually did rifle a stack of Clinton's stuff on family policy for a Liberal minister's speech, which he was very happy with, because he was trying to convince the community sector of his bona fides in the area.

If the press had discovered these little stunts, the politicians Sheil worked for would have been humiliated. Fire all lefties now, lest their pranks undermine you!

Posted by Tim Blair at April 23, 2004 02:03 PM

Small things amuse tiny minds

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at April 23, 2004 at 02:29 PM

Some of your readers may be too young to remember when Senator Joe Biden of Delaware was forced to withdraw from the 1988 Democratic Presidential primaries after being caught plagiarizing entire sections of a speech by British Labour Party head Neil Kinnock.

Still Delaware voters send him back to the Senate where he grandstands, panders, and flip flops...It's beyond me.

I look forward to his memoir, "A Millionaire Child Senator's Christmas in Wales".

Posted by: JDB at April 23, 2004 at 02:41 PM

Christopher Sheil ego prevents him from shutting his mouth. Thinking his petty victories makes popular while in reality it adds to the mounting evidences that his just hack. And so fare from a professional its nauseating.

Posted by: Gary at April 23, 2004 at 03:25 PM

On the other hand, ask the question, why were the tricks not detected in the firsat place : I'll stick by it, the coalition is another socialist party, I only vote for them because what sits opposite is worse, far worse.

Posted by: d at April 23, 2004 at 03:33 PM

Shit - I'm writing speeches for Ministers all the time. It’s kinda hard to think up new stuff. Sheil was lazy and now he wants to dress it up as a prank. Whatever helps him sleep at night.

Even worse is the habit of writing “the tragic events of Sept 11” as if it was a natural disaster. Even I do it. I know that if I wrote “attack on September 11” it wouldn’t make it through.

It’s not deference to Muslims that causes it because the same formulation applied to the “tragic events at Port Arthur”. Not “murders”.

I swear if they didn't pay me twice what I'm worth I'd quit!

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at April 23, 2004 at 04:07 PM

Tiny minds use brighter minds to write speeches for them.

Posted by: IXLNXS at April 23, 2004 at 04:35 PM

Who said the left doesn't have a sense of humour!

Posted by: superboot at April 23, 2004 at 05:12 PM

Would someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE give Gravett some lessons in the English language and sound grammatical construction?

Posted by: Niall at April 23, 2004 at 07:48 PM

Latest: Latham apologises for plagiarism.

"I have a dream that never before in the field of human histoy have the better angels of my nature let me down like this. People need to know whether their Opposition Leader is a copycat. Well, I'm not a copycat! Nevertheless, I choose to apologise in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard. It is my melancholy duty. Without any inhibitions of any kind I make it quite clear that I look to originality, free of any pangs as to my traditional links or kinship with plagiarism. It's time."

Posted by: CurrencyLad at April 23, 2004 at 08:43 PM

Did these speeches Christopher Sheil wrote include any oddly placed full stops?

Posted by: PW at April 24, 2004 at 12:18 AM

What was Gorbachev's political leanings?

Posted by: Andjam at April 24, 2004 at 01:29 AM


Posted by: cs at April 24, 2004 at 02:39 AM

IXL-- I suggest you fire the guy who writes your lines. He has obviously tricked you into thinking he's a "great mind". That might be true in comparison with yourself, but he's still a drooling idiot.

Posted by: Sortelli at April 24, 2004 at 11:33 AM

Aren't I a clever little dick?

You pooey heads you!

Love Christopher

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at April 24, 2004 at 08:06 PM