Monday, 1 December 2008

192: Jeremy Thorpe 10

from “The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book” by Eric Idle, 1976

On 1 May, 1976, Scott sued the Metropolitan Police Force for the return of Thorpe’s letters which Scott had given them in 1962. Immediately, Lord Goodman also sued for them, claiming they were Thorpe’s property. The letters were returned to the Thorpe team. In one of the odder, if not stupider, moments of all this, Thorpe then had the letters printed in the “Sunday Times” of 9 May 1976 in an attempt to clear the situation.

The letters included the notoriously puzzling but memorable assertion by Thorpe that "Bunnies can (and will) go to France". The “Sunday Times” also had a psychiatrist analyse the letters, who declared that while they demonstrated some sort of friendly and affectionate relationship between Thorpe and Scott, this did not necessarily indicate outright homosexuality.

The letters did nothing to strengthen Thorpe’s case with his party, as further revelations of semi-regular payments to Scott continued to appear, alongside accusations from ex-colleague Peter Bessel. Thorpe gave his resignation as leader of the Liberal Party to David Steel the very next day on 10 may 1976.

This is from “The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book” by Eric Idle. The first half tries to drum up salacious interest in dreary bread-and-butter letters. The second half plays off that anxiety about using terms of endearment, or even just “dear” whomever, when writing a letter to another man, as was also used in this sketch by Peter Shaffer during the Vassall case

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