No less a critic than AN Wilson describes this as the most perfect biograpy imaginable.
Jeremy is born of an obsessive, adoring mother. Mummy sends Jeremy to Eton. Mummy sends Jeremy to Oxford. At Oxford, Jeremy is flamboyant, as they used to say, his only female visitor his Mummy. Jeremy plots and cheats and steals and blackmails his way into the Presidency of the Oxford Union. One of his victims and rivals, Robin Day, is so disgusted by Jeremy that he calls the cops. Not for the last time, the cops are unable to prove Jeremy's crimes. Using other students' notes and essays, Jeremy scrapes a bum third in law. A lawyer himself, author, Bloch, dazzled and sympathetic throughout, concludes that Jeremy didn't really do much harm. Not as though Jeremy was working class. I don't know and I care less whether Bloch was a Bullingdon boy or not, but he thinks and writes like one. However repulsively crooked Jeremy demonstrates himself to be he is redeemed in Bloch's eyes by his great political gifts. And his love of parties.
Jeremy is popular with the homos and child molesters in the Liberal party and succeeds Jo Grimond as leader.
Some electoral success follows and Jeremy, like so many of his fellow travellers is invited, in this case by the Cottaging Grocer, Heath, to enter coalition. Unlike his successors, the revolting Steel and Clegg, Jeremy declines, playing a longer game.
Rumours circulate about Jeremy. Nasty journalists compile a dossier. Jeremy has solicited political donations which he trousers and pays to the eventual dogshooters, that they might rid him of his former rentboy, Norman Scott. Having done their best to protect Jeremy the authorities are left with no choice but to prosecute him for conspiracy to murder.
The only funny part of the book is that brief section in which Bloch describes Liberal worthies fleeing from Jeremy at the speed of light,
Cyril Smith, of all people, declaring that he wouldn't touch him with a barge pole and the arsehole, Boy David, telling him he wasn't welcome at party fixtures.
At his trial, the judge famously ordered the jury to acquit Jeremy on the grounds of his status and reject the evidence of poor Norman, a man whom lawyer-writer Bloch describes as a parasite; his subject Jeremy, of course, having ponced his entire life off his mother, his wives, his electors, party members and donors was spared this calumny, even though he the more richly deserved it; Norman Scott was a hysterical dissembler, one who traded as best he could on the then anti-homosexual climate which victimised him far more that it did Jeremy Thorpe, no reason for public schoolboys to attempt his murder. The concept of justice for all seems entirely alien in Bloch's partial and snooty book.
The last section of this comprehensive biography deals with Jeremy's decline after the trial. Many "bravely battle" not only one but multiple chronic illnesses; it is not a matter of valour but of necessity and desperation, who would not rather live than die? Thorpe's contraction of Parkinsons's Disease is - as by now you would expect from this book- uniquely tragic, suffered as it is by a gobby, idle, worthless tosser, but an Oxbridge one. After his trial, Jeremy seeks and expects prestigious appointments, unable to realise that even though acquitted, his trial revealed him to be utterly rotten and completely dishonest. Amnesty International board members resign in droves at the thought that he might be given a senior appointment to which he felt entitled; Robert Mugabe, yes, him, fucked Jeremy off from some position he sought in Zimbabwe; at one time Jeremy was confident of standing again as MP for North Devon and had to be persuaded of how ridiiculous an idea this was. Steel & Co rejected him. In his last years Jeremy hustled for a peerage - purely to get back into parliament, y'understand, and display his dazzling gifts of gabshitery; when his claim to a nonsensical Mediaeval baronetcy evaporated he lobbied unsuccessfully for a life peerage.
|The nerve of some people, who do they think they are?
I generally feel some sympathy for human villainy as long as there is an element of remorse in the villain. Thorpe was as much victim of parental expectation as was Scott of parental neglect; both were fantasists, both, at that time, criminal deviants, abiding in the demi-monde of rough, urgent buggery and showy - flamboyant - I Dare You masquerade but from those to whom much has been given, much is expected and in this as well as in his lifelong denial of his criminality, Thorpe disappoints. He has enough sympathisers I was never one but Bloch's book, well worth borrowing from the library, comfirms my hostility to he and all of his ilk.
It might be worth noting that Thorpe's perverse acquittal - one of the jurors later said Oh, he done it, but he and his wife had suffered enough - and shamlessness set a new benchmark for dastardly conduct amongst politicians, none now resign, all now, like Cameron insist that they take responsibility whilst doing nothing of the sort,
all trouser others' money, all serve wealthy benefactors rather than the nation, many are gleefully, audaciously degenerate and decadent
- flambolyant, in Thorpe's time.
I saw Chris Underpants, MP, on Question Time last week.
mrs ishmael was amazed, this is that bloke who posed in his pants and sent the picture all around the world, seeking casual gay sex
and now he's on Labour's front bench and here on the telly, moralising at us?
Yes, dear and before that he was an Amglican priest.
Still, at least he's not a Liberal, doesn't go around trying to murder his embarrassments, like they do.