political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
My Mother Loved Jeremy Thorpe
There was a fascinating interview with former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe in yesterday's Guardian. If you've got Parkinson's people think you have lost your marbles. Not so, as he amply demonstrates. My mother used to be besotted with Jeremy Thorpe and was a Liberal voter until the, er, events of the mid 1970s. My sister then got to know him in the 1980s through his work at the United Nations Association. I then published his memoir IN MY OWN TIME in 1999. It's a funny old world. It was an absolute pleasure to deal with him and his charming wife Marion and it's a book which made the whole publishing experience worthwhile.
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Indeed, he is certainly compos mentis; his advice to us Lib Dems to be wary of parties offering coalition is sound: ' . . I think the Tories are desperate, defeated twice already. And they are ruthless beasts . . '
Are you ruthless? Or toothless? I wonder and so do many Lib Dems.
Iain are you having a bad judgement day? First you defend Conway and now Thorpe. Both are, for different reasons, crooks. I am sure Thorpe is nice and a pleasure to deal with. Perhaps Norman Scott thought the same once, not to mention his dog! Have a stiff nightcap and get to bed.
To be called "a Jeremy" was a slur when I was at school. I think you know why. Thorpe would've fitted in well today.
I am sure Thorpe has many fascinating political memories; but how could one ever believe a word he says? Anyone who is inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt should read Simon Freeman and Barrie Penrose, Rinkagate: The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Thorpe. Details here:
My sister felt the same about him, on account of his 'nice eyes'. Pathetic.
There is a warning for some of today's leaders from the Thorpe story. He was priviledged and clever. Eton and Oxford. Talented and ambitious and well-connected. MP at 30, Party leader at the age of 38. Liked by the media and engaging in his public face. Superb public speaker...
... but he failed because of hubris - the fatal flaw of some who begin to think that they can walk on water.
I assume Iain you are not seeking any further Conservative party nominations for MP, As with what you are saying in recent posts brings out your true vocation. The church is short of ministers, and your fogiving attitude would well qualify you for a ministry, or perhaps not.
You do not sound like a Thather supporter at all.
So as a 'friend' of Derek Conway could you tell me how many more of his spawn am I supporting.
What a charming man...and Ian Huntley was so good to his dog...
Are you a friend of Nigel Watersons too Iain?
Although I am stupid and self-satisfied (according to the fragrant Verity), may I offer this piece of experience. One may be friends with people with whose political views one disagrees and also with people who have broken rules or laws. Thank goodness for the warm illogicality of friendship that sees beyond puritan rectitude or flock membership.
Quote from interview: Although Thorpe did agree with Heath on Europe - "without the Liberal vote they wouldn't have had the majority [to get into Europe].
Thanks, Jeremy, you and your mob really did us a big favour there (not).
Gosh nine years since you published that book! I am sure I was at the launch at the shop. Where does all the time go...
That name rings a bell, everyone at the local school in 70's had 'Norman bites pillows ok!' written on their school books.
I cannot think of Jeremy Thrope without recalling Peter Cook's sketch "Entirely A Matter For You" and the famous "self-confessed player of the pink oboe". The full sketch is
he wasn't as nice as he was made out
We have to wait for Tharg to die so that someone can write the full story of Rinka, without a libel writ. On the other hand, Wislon and Heath have both died, and nobody seems to written up all the juicy scandals involving their private lives, either. It hardly seems worth outliving scoundrels.
I would heartily recommend the late Auberon Waugh's book "The Last Word" on that trial.
The real lesson of Jeremy Thorpe and his legal troubles was that the Establishment are damned good at circling their wagons around one of their own.
I'm fairly sure there is nothing more about the Thorpe scandal which hasn't already emerged. The trial brought almost everything known then. Anything really damaging would have been found in David Holmes' papers after his death.
There is an untransmitted LWT documentary about the case which was prepared in anticipation of a guilty verdict but this doesn't actually contain anything novel; it's just the prosecution case in film form.
The only 'smoking gun' which could still be out there would have to be in the possession of Andrew Newton (aka Hann Redwin) but casting doubt on his trustworthiness was one of the few areas where Mr Justice Cantley was on the money in 1979.
Despite threatening legal action at almost all stages Thorpe has never gone through with it, a fact that has not gone unnoticed among those who have written about the case. Freeman and Penrose's "Rinkagate" gives no indication of having been gutted by lawyers.
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