Back to basics

Posted by ESC on September 09, 2001

In Reply to: back to basics posted by Jay King on September 09, 2001

: John Major may well have called upon us all to get back to them in 1993, but I recall the same plea to get back to the basics years earlier. In the U.S. it was often coupled with the simplistic (and misspelled) modifiers, 'the three r's' - readin', ritin' and 'rithmetic.

BACK TO BASICS - " A catch-phrase applied to a movement or enthusiasm for a return to fundamental principles (e.g. in education) or to policies reflecting this. Originally US. It did not impinge much on British consciousness until 1993, when it was adopted as a slogan by the Conservative Party ('It is time to get back to basics: to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting responsibility for yourself and your family, and not shuffling it off on the state,' John Major, Conservation Party Conference . Numerous fallings from grace amongst government ranks soon enabled opponents to turn the phrase back on those who had sponsored its use. 1975 'New York Times': The style and tone of the churches have undergone a major adjustment.gradually turning toward a 'back-to-basics' approach'." From "20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years" by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).