8 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 40

Safire said it first

From The Lord Feldman of Frognal Sir: Much as I enjoyed the positive tone of Howard I. Shapiro's letter on the state of Iraq (25 October), I must tell him that he is wrong in one important detail.

Spiro Agnew did not coin the phrase 'nattering nabobs of negativism'. It was coined by William Safire, my eminent brother-inlaw, in 1970, when he was one of Nixon's speechwriters. The vice-president later credited him with this phrase.

Basil Feldman

London SW1