Resignation speeches: why does it matter what a politician says?

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As part of our Burnet News Club session on Monday, we wrote and performed resignation speeches for politicians who had been forced to resign due to things they had said or done.

To start with, I couldn’t quite understand why a resignation speech was important. Surely if a misdemeanour has been committed, the harm has already been done. We discussed the fact that these politicians are often faced by a backlash from the media which can seriously damage their reputation, on top of any other consequences that they may be forced to face, such as resigning from their post, criminal charges, or being forced to apologies to other politicians.

I then thought about the impact a resignation speech could have if it was done well. A public apology is, in my mind, extremely important. Where people have voted for a politician, choosing them to represent their thoughts and views, the politician has a responsibility to say sorry if they have done something to betray the trust of their people, and the people have a right to hear it!

A resignation speech is one way of issuing a public apology. The politician can use this opportunity to defend their reputation and really show who they truly are. This can be good for their future reputation as they have a chance to show themselves in a more positive light and regain some popularity with their followers. By coming across as honest and humble, a politician who has done something wrong can change the public’s view of them in an instant, which may be good news for their future political career!

I tried to incorporate these ideas into my own resignation speech for Lalu Prasad Yadov, which I have included below:

I, Lalu Prasad Yadav, am standing here today to give you my sincere apology for all the crimes I have committed against a country which I have always, and will always, love.

I regret to say that I have abused my power and it is time to take responsibility for what I have done. In the name of justice, I have taken the heart-wrenching decision to resign from a position that I not only love but which I feel has been my life for a number of years.

I am not just saying this, I genuinely believe that this is the best decision for me and for all the people I have let down by my thoughtless actions. I have performed actions that are wrong and will continuously stay with me wherever I go and whatever I do. You deserve leaders who will act with integrity and honesty and- for now at least- I regret to say that I do not deserve to be that person.

One day, when I have once against demonstrated that I am worthy of your trust and votes, I hope to represent you again in a way more befitting of a leader. I can only ask for you forgiveness and thank you all for your continued support and this difficult time.

Thank you.

What do you think the purpose of a resignation speech is? Are there any examples of where the wrong speech has had a negative affect on a politican’s career? Would an effective speech cause you to regain trust in someone who has let you down or do you believe that, once a crime has been committed, that trust has been lost forever?

Comments (5)

  • tom Tom @ the BNC
    29 Jan 2020

    What great questions - and there are so many to look for on Youtube to help us come to opinions. Who can forget David Cameron and Theresa May's tearful resignation speeches?

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  • Michael-Faraday-logo-250x250.jpg memorable_orchard | Michael Faraday School
    30 Jan 2020

    In my opinion, it is paramount of what politicians say as they cannot resign without notifying their country or we would be clueless who is reigning over our country, then the news could not tell us if there is an upcoming general election or not. In addition, this would mean that we would not have a leader to reign over us. This would result in a place being vacant for someone and since it is abruptly we would have to rush and seek for another politician in a minimum amount of time which would mean we would have an unwanted leader to look up to! Another reason why it is important about what a politician says is that it can possibly delay elections. For example, if Boris Johnson resigned when the general election was coming, the wait would become more lengthy. Overall, these are the reasons why it is important of what a politician says when resigning.

    Thank you for reading.
    memorable_orchard.

    Reply to this comment
  • Lyons Hall Primary School warm_snow | Lyons Hall Primary School B
    05 Feb 2020

    In my opinion I that’s the president in 10 down in stretch why it is important for them what Politicians says when resigning.

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  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg artistic_imagination | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Feb 2020

    In my opinion the politicians should do the resignation speech because it then shows that the politician forgiving and he/she is apologizing for what they have done wrong and it shows that they also can apologize and they are just like us and they still have manners. The resignation speech is also good because as it explains why they are retiring and explains what they did wrong so the country knows.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      artistic_imagination's comment 10 Feb 2020

      Excellent use of the word 'because' to give two reasons here, artistic_imagination!

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