Saturday, 22 April 2017

Liberal Sex Scandals: Paddy Pantsdown, Jeremy Thorpe and the Spirit of Rinka, Woof! Woof!

A young fellow over at Facebook asked me if Paddy Ashdown became known as Paddy Pantsdown because of a homosexual scandal. I replied in the negative, since Pantsdown was created in 1992 as a result of getting involved in an extra-curricular leg over situation with his secretary five years earlier, and that secretary was very much a girl.

The confusion had come about because Jeremy Thorpe, a predecessor of Pantsdown as Leader of the Liberal Party had not only buggered a man, one Norman Scott, but had then tried to hire the most cack handed hitmen in Britain to kill him when Scott's persistent demands for money became insufferable.

All they managed to do was shoot dead Rinka, Scott's Great Dane, which was an animal, by the way, and not a well hung Scandinavian.

Eventually the whole sordid story came out and Thorpe and his gang were had up for attempted murder in 1979. 

Luckily for them, the prosecution had to rely on some fairly dubious characters, the judge was on their side, and the jury took the hint and found them all not guilty. Within days the late Peter Cook set up the judge in a masterpiece of satire that deserves another outing:

In the run-up to the trial we had the 1979 general election, which led Auberon Waugh to stand in Thorpe's constituency as the standard bearer of the Dog Lovers' Party. Alas for him, Thorpe took out an injunction to prevent distribution of his election address, but Waugh had published it as his weekly column in the Spectator. The magazine hastily withdrew as many copies as it could to comply with the injunction, but enough got out that, thanks to photocopiers, the address could see the light of day. Which is why people were telling each other: "Rinka is NOT forgotten. Rinka lives. Woof, woof. Vote Waugh to give all dogs the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

It emerged in the trial that Jeremy Thorpe was not a believer in the use of lube whenever he wished to exercise his pink oboe, because Norman Scott testified that he was forced to "bite the pillow and cry" when he was in receipt of that instrument. It is for this reason that the Liberal Democrats are still occasionally referred to as the Lubeless Dems even to this day, at least by me.

Now that the confusion between the two cases has been cleared up, it is important that I make it clear that I do not seek to influence your vote in any way. It may very well be that you believe that casting a ballot for a party that has been led by an admitted arse bandit who tried to hide the evidence of his banditry by having the witness bumped off, and then some years later by an illicit shagger is a vote for a decent and honourable party.

That is a matter for you and your conscience.

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