‘Dazzling’, ‘electrifying’, ‘stunning’ … the world reacts to Mhairi Black’s maiden speech

‘Dazzling’, ‘electrifying’, ‘stunning’ … the world reacts to Mhairi Black’s maiden speech
The National, by Andrew Learmonth

Most maiden speeches in the House of Commons don’t really get a huge audience. They’re maybe watched by party colleagues, a few folk on the opposition benches, some family members and the people who lost the remote control that one time they accidentally watched the Parliament channel.


And yet within 24 hours of Paisley MP Mhairi Black delivering her first speech, an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide had watched her "blistering attack" on the welfare policies of the Tory government.


Between videos on Channel 4 news, Buzzfeed and the SNP’s own website, viewers had come in from all over. The speech was picked up by Time magazine, Cosmopolitan, and the New York Times among many others.


It featured prominently in most UK newspapers yesterday and even saw the 20-year-old MP trend nationally on Twitter. Labour MPs, the General Synod of the Church of Scotland, and Harry Styles sister were among those tweeting the video out.


The Daily Mail, not a newspaper known for its SNP sympathies, called Black’s speech “one of the best maiden speeches of the 2015 intake”. Time Magazine called it "stunning" and “dazzling". Their headline read: "Watch this 20-year-old legislator completely own the UK parliament". The Mirror said it was "electrifying" and the Guardian said the speech showed Black "setting off for the political atmosphere".


There was some criticism for the BBC’s Reporting Scotland, whose short piece featured anchor Jackie Bird talking over Black, and then showed, in full, the Deputy Speaker’s admonishment of the SNP MPs for clapping.

However, in the Independent Simon Kelner said that despite Black being "patronised, vilified…and lampooned" she had "helped restore this jaded old cynic’s faith in politics". Black’s speech, he said, would be "the perfect reproach to those who believe that young people are interested only in consumerism and celebrity".