Friday, January 27, 2006

 

Gay Scandals, Jeremy Thorpe and the Liberals

One might almost say that a kind of justice has been done over Simon Hughes. In 1983 he must have known that Liberal attacks on Peter Tatchell were outrageously homophobic yet he allowed them to take place and took his seat partly on the strength of them. Now his acceptance of that campaign- unacceptable even if passive- has come back to deliver a mighty swipe across the face of his career. He lied about this sexuality and automatically raised questions of his suitability for high office. Can we trust such a man? The answer can scarcely be yes.

At least Kennedy- we can assume- was in the grip of an addictive condition when he lied about his problem but no such excuse exists for Hughes. Why did he not come clean? I have a theory about people like Hughes and Mandelson and even Matthew Parris. They grew up in the era when it was illegal to be a practising gay person, when the stigma was deep and life scarring. They must have been relieved to mature into a more tolerant atmosphere, but they were atill reluctant to risk the possible odium of coming out. Like Kenneth Willaims too, they may have internalised society's disapproval and developed a degree of self loathing. Hughes referred to his homosexual activities as 'mistakes'- better to feel and admit no shame as the likes of Chris Smith and Ben Bradshaw have done with impunity.

It is all such a mess for the Liberal Democrats. Yet it should be recalled that the biggest ever scandal- in my view- in British politics, occurred some thirty years ago over another homosexual Liberal, Jeremy Thorpe. If the plot of that scandal, involving a plan to 'whack', 'rub out' or otherwise 'hit' Norman Scott, who could not keep qiet about this affair with the Liberal leader, had been pitched to Hollywood, no one would have touched it as it was so unbelievably unbelievable. Only the dog was shot in the end- was it called Rinka? Lib dems have much to be grateful for that at least there is no dog involved this time.

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How well known is Jeremy Thorpe these days? Apart from the
fact that he was involved in some sort of daddys boys gay movie
in the late seventies that ended his career, does anyone remember anything much about him?
Does anyone under the age of forty even know the name of the young twink ?
he was caught with ? Possibly not.
 
Hughes ran a horrific 1983 campaign in Bermondsey that was the most
hypocritical and dirty campaign in the history of Liberal low tricks -
and that is saying something for the masters of dirty tricks. Liberal
activists subsequently admitted going round council estates knocking on
doors wearing "I've kissed by cute young twinks" badges. Working -
class Bermondsey was conned, their prejudices were played to and the
Labour candidate, Peter Tatchell, was pummelled.

Last week he told the press that he was unlucky in love with the young twink boys ,
his spinners referred disingenuously to his "deep-felt Christianity"
whilst at the same time gay barmen were hawking stories around the tabloids
and Hughes was running up bills at the twink boy galleries. What is it with politicians
that they are so contemptuous of the public that think they can lie blatantly
to us and then expect to be trusted by us? Hughes is an ambitious, lying
politician who has lied to everyone for twenty-two years, why should anyone
trust him now? If he had been a Conservative, the apologists for him today
would be rightly attacking him for hypocrisy and that 1983 campaign.
 
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