Is it "The Bloomberg Speech"?
- 28 January 2013
- From the section UK Politics
Tony Blair had his Chicago speech, Maggie's was in Bruges. We had been waiting six months for what David Cameron's advisers called "The Speech".
When it was finally judged the right time to promise an In/Out referendum arrangements were first made to deliver it in Germany.
That would have had the right international ring, but it looked like there would be a clash with other Euro events.
Next it was to be "The Amsterdam" speech - echoes of Maastricht - but it was cancelled so the PM could brief on Algerian terrorism.
What Cameron called a "tantric" delay was becoming too much to bear.
So The Speech was eventually delivered at the City nerve centre for financial information company Bloomberg, in front of the video wall in a modern auditorium.
But does "The Bloomberg Speech" have the right ring for the event?
Bloomberg an Anglicisation
The Bloomberg name is an Anglicisation of Blumberg, in Yiddish, or German, and the Cameron speech started with some solid historical roots for the European project.
The company is American, set up in the 1980s by Michael Bloomberg, who later became Mayor of New York. So we should recall Britain's role in the wider world away from the continent. But Bloomberg became Mayor as a Republican, after starting out a Democrat.
After the cast-iron guarantee perhaps the Bloomberg moniker IS appropriate to this new referendum promise.
To add continental flavour they served croissants before the speech started, but the coffee was more Manhattan milky than left bank Parisian.
There was an invited audience, including the Finnish ambassador, and politicos from Spain, Portugal and Greece. No-one too surprising, you had to be sure they would clap at the end.
South-East of England Conservative MEP Dan Hannan was there, later claiming the idea of a referendum after negotiation was his own suggestion, to cap the switch away from the EPP in Brussels that he first encouraged Cameron to make.
So the speech had gravitas, but Number 10 wanted to leave room for questions, without allowing the event to turn into an impromptu press conference.
Heavyweight UK broadcast pundits ended up drawing lots to decide who should ask questions at the end. Sky's Adam Boulton picked the winning piece of paper, with Channel Five's Andy Bell, and in the end the PM took more.
The rush to get the speech out, the early start (we were queuing for admission before 07:00 w,ith a strict 07:30 GMT cut off) only gave the referendum announcement longer to sink in. And the cheer Cameron got at Prime Minister's Questions four hours later ensured this was not the anti-climax some predicted.
The Number 10 website later hedged their bets on the speech's title, calling it "The speech at Bloomberg"
Surely too much of a mouthful.
And there is one other problem. There have been Bloomberg speeches before, George Osborne in 2010, Ed Balls during the Labour leadership contest.
So if we cannot call it "The Bloomberg Speech" what should it be? Leave your suggestions below.