On Monday, December 18, the chairman of the upper chamber, Miloš Vystrčil (ODS), gave a sixteen-minute speech to the public, which he called “advent”. In one sentence, he listed several things that bother people – for example, expensive energy and food, a shortage of doctors and housing.
He criticized populists who appeal to simple solutions. He blamed the current problems on past governments and past presidents, but also on “the majority of us citizens who gave their consent to this.”
However, he did not offer his own specific instructions for a solution in his speech, on the contrary, he emphasized several times how difficult it is for the government.
“Does anyone really believe that these problems can be solved with a snap of the fingers? Does anyone really believe that this government had and could have prepared a clear plan and a detailed solution? Or is it different?” asks one of the highest constitutional officials of the citizens. According to Vystrčil, politicians need to talk more and voters should also think about how to be better.
Maybe I’m a bit jaded after years of writing about politics, but for a high-ranking official of the ruling party, it felt a bit low. And the question is whether the voters want to hear another etude about who is to blame, rather than a proposal for a solution and a prospect for the future.
But not all days are over, we will still enjoy political speeches on holidays. Prime Minister Petr Fiala will speak on Boxing Day. President Petr Pavel’s message is scheduled for the New Year. And we don’t even have to miss ex-president Miloš Zeman, who, after retiring from politics, at least broadcasts his message to Štěpán on Facebook.
The head of the House of Representatives, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, who is not participating in the competition for the best Christmas speech, probably best described the situation: It is speech inflation.
It used to be the case that the President of the Republic spoke on New Year’s Day. And what are we going to lie about, not even the head of state has put together such an important message every year that it is worth turning on the TV.
More on the topic:
Until recently, no one tampered with the president’s annual speech, only Miloš Zeman moved the date from New Year’s to December 26 after taking office. In 2019, however, the head of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera – in response to the missing New Year’s speech – came up with his own speech.
The then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Radek Vondráček, also joined in the turn. The following year, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš delivered a speech on New Year’s Day, and since then prime ministers have also given speeches. Because where the space for politicians is opened, it will remain open.
This year there was even a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war between the constitutional officials. The President wanted to return to the tradition of the New Year’s speech, which was already a little overcrowded in previous years. Other politicians backed down and settled for a less prestigious term.
Nothing against the prime minister or the head of the Senate speaking to the nation. After all, bad communication blames the government wherever it goes. But when it all comes together like this at once, the viewer logically loses attention and the importance of the speeches is devalued.
For me personally, even the timing of Christmas is incomprehensible. The first of January as the opening of the new year is of course logical. But how did politicians figure out that voters want to listen to political platitudes right next to the Christmas tree or over the festive duck?
If a politician came with a celebratory speech to his fellow citizens on the Easter feast, the First of May or the burning of Jan Hus, we would probably be tapping our foreheads.
In short, when it comes to political speech, sometimes less is more.