Oxford Union Debate 5

I have just accepted an invitation to speak at the Oxford Union next term, to oppose the motion

This House believes that in the war on terror the best defence is a good offence.

I thought you might enjoy my reply:


Thank you for your invitation to speak at the Oxford Union, which I am happy to accept. The debate does sound most enjoyable.

I am slightly concerned that we may have linguistic difficulties. For example Luke Tryl’s kind letter of invitation includes the phrase “Last term alone we were lucky enough to host the likes of President Musharraf, Michael Douglas and Cherie Blair”. Plainly we have different definitions of lucky.

Look forward to seeing you.


I could do worse than arm myself for the debate with some quotations from this tremendous compendium, into which I somehow snuck.


Now I have had a secret hope to get “Selling our souls for dross” (my official Ambassadorial complaint to London about receiving intelligence from torture) into the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. But this one seems to have caught on better.

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5 thoughts on “Oxford Union Debate

  • Strategist

    Linguistic difficulties indeed. Do we think Corey means "a good offence" in the sense of "authorising the bombing of innocent civilians is a criminal offence"….????

  • Foddy

    Perhaps they could invite Cherie Blair and Musharraf back to propose the motion? Michael Douglas, on the other hand, is a UN "Messenger of Peace" and avowed Democrat, so could join you in opposing the motion (while you might offer to look after Catherine Zeta Jones during his speech). As a complete aside, I was once dining at a rather nice restaurant in Grand Central Station, New York, and Michael Douglas was at the next table. I don't think he recognised me.