Sunday, August 9, 2015

'Sailor Ted' and the defrocked clergy

It has frequently been pointed out that attitudes to sexuality were different in the 1960s and 1970s: and this has been especially stressed when personalities from the past - like the late British prime minister Edward Heath - are retrospectively suspected of sexual abuse.

Attitudes certainly were once very different: an individual's sexual conduct was generally considered to be something private - unless it emerged in a sensational divorce case, or a major sex scandal like the Profumo affair.

In the Westminster village - which extended to Fleet Street - there was plenty of casual gossip, and loud guffaws of laughter in the various watering-holes about the sexuality of certain personalities, but it wasn't regarded as a public issue.

If (the late) Tom Driberg, ennobled as Baron Bradwell - a crony of Labour prime minister Harold Wilson and one of the grandees of British politics of the time - liked to engage teenage rent boys for his entertainment, well, he was sensible enough not to get caught, wasn't he? Driberg, strong socialist and High Anglican, once explained to a colleague of mine in El Vino that he found the best protection against any member of the constabulary collaring him in a compromising situation was a handy £50 note in his breast pocket. This was met with chortles of laughter, as I recall. Wise old Tom!  (more...)

Whatever floats your boat.
Sailin' in the 70s:

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