Magazine article The Spectator

Generous Denis

Magazine article The Spectator

Generous Denis

Article excerpt

Sir: Denis MacShane is too generous. In his Diary (11 October) he surmised that I might be the author of John Major's 'Back to Basics' slogan. But I am afraid I can take no credit for a campaign conceived by others before I came to Number 10. Still, 'back to basics' is a useful little phrase, which I confess to deploying at the Intelligence Squared debate against the motion proposing Georgian and Ukrainian membership of Nato. It may even have played a modest part in Team Skidelsky's crushing defeat of Team MacShane. As your correspondent put it, 'rarely has the room been so dramatically swayed by the arguments on the night'.

Christopher Meyer London SW3

Sir: I enjoyed Denis MacShane's Diary -- except for the totally unjustified criticism of how 'British Tory MPs' voted at the end of the Council of Europe debate on the war between Russia and Georgia. …

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