‘I’m Telling You, and You’ll Listen’: Ethos in the Rhetoric of Neil Kinnock

  • Simon Griffiths
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


The chapter argues that Neil Kinnock’s ethos, as Labour leader in the early 1980s, gave him the authority to take on the left of the party. Yet, the same ethos that Kinnock possessed—derived from his Welsh, working class background—contributed to his failure to convince the electorate of his suitability to become Prime Minister. Indeed, perceptions of a speaker’s ethos can be filtered by factors outside their control, as was the case with Kinnock and the media. Responding to this negative portrayal, Kinnock’s later rhetoric drew less on his own ethos and more on other rhetorical modes: a transformation that created a degree of mistrust. The chapter concludes with some wider comments on the importance of ethos, broadly understood, in rhetoric.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Griffiths
    • 1
  1. 1.Goldsmiths‚ University of LondonLondonEngland

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