Monday, May 29, 2006

Tim Collins? Bring it on

Iain Dale has been pondering who should be the Conservative candidate in the Bromley & Chislehurst by-election:
I have looked through the names on the 'A' List on ConservativeHome and I keep coming back to two names. Tim Collins and Laura Sandys. In this kind of situation I think Tim could be a good bet. He will be able to deal with the media, is combative as well as being tenacious.
Tim Collins? We should be so lucky.

For Collins played an honourable part in the crippling of the Conservatives as a political force. John Major made his famous Back to Basics speech at the 1993 Tory Conference. The Virtual Stoa (scroll down to 5 March) quotes an Alan Watkins piece on what happened next:

I heard his Back to Basics speech at the party conference and read it several times afterwards. It did not contain a single reference to sexual intercourse, whether expressly or by implication. It was all about reading, writing and arithmetic.

The sex bit was inserted by Mr Tim Collins, then the prime minister's spin merchant, who was asked by journalists whether the speech meant that Mr Major expected the highest personal standards from his ministers. Mr Collins replied that that was indeed what it meant. The trouble started from there.

The country owes Mr Collins a debt of gratitude. The CBE he was later awarded was scant reward for the service he had rendered to the nation.

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