Thorpe had given his resignation as leader of the Liberal party to David Steel on 10 May 1976. In considering how the great man could have been brought down, if you obviously discount the homosexual affair and murder plot, then you find yourself haring after some bloody strange suppositions.
These two cartoons are based on one of the weirder and more curious byways of investigation shooting off the case. Thorpe had been quite outspoken in his criticism of South Africa, and it was suggested at the time that Scott’s allegations were really sponsored by the South African Bureau Of State Security (BOSS) to smear Thorpe’s reputation. Even Harold Wilson, the soon-to-resign Prime Minister, backed up these odd rumours. Of course, this was all a wrong-headed diversion.
Raymond Jackson, however, takes the opportunity to ring the changes on secret gay conspiracies within several days.
“Evening Standard”, 11 May 1976
In the first, the fat, bearded chap on the far right is a stereotypical thuggish South African, and as far from a gay stereotype as possible, hence the surprise of the joke.
“Evening Standard”, 14 May 1976
In this one, JAK offers us a regiment of stereotypical homosexuals, all looking like variations on Dick Emery’s effeminate Clarence character.