We don’t hear much about Tim Collins CBE x-MP in the media much these days, which is a shame as I’d be curious to find out how he’s adjusting to Life After Parliament. But there are still occasional references to be found to his brief, shining political career, this one in today’s Independent on Sunday (boo, boo, you’re supposed to pay for it) making a claim I hadn’t heard before. Here’s Alan Watkins, who makes the familiar point associating sex scandals with Tories and Liberals and money scandals with Labour politicians, and who then goes on:

In the 1990s, true, there was a shift in the terms of trade. The Tories started to go in for both. It was not wholly of John Major’s making. 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.

If that’s true, then Tories must think TC, etc, has a lot to answer for, and the rest of us must thank him for services to the gaiety of the nation.

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