Jeremy Thorpe: Rinka’s Revenge!

I hear that Jeremy Thorpe is dead. He inspired my first poetic work of any substance. Written when I was still at school, The Trial of Jeremy Thorpe has joined the catalogue of my lost works. I conceived a strong prejudice against Mr Thorpe the first time I saw him on the telly. I was equally partial to Norman Scott, whose only fault, I would ever allow, was a certain resemblance to Hermann Goering. And I felt sorry for Rinka. Put me on the Jury, and I’d have found the wretch guilty for that alone – even if the prosecution evidence, I now have to admit, was less than compelling.

I had not the smallest doubt, as a schoolboy, that he was guilty as charged, and I set to work on my play during the trial itself. I hoped it would please my English teacher. I was so annoyed when he was acquitted that it nearly took the shine off  Margaret Thatcher’s first election victory.

Of course, I never dared publish. I last saw the manuscript in 1983. All I can presently recall is part of a chorus of drunken journalists who accost the chief prosecution witness in the Old Bailey:

Jeremy, bold and ruthless,
Than leaders old and toothless,
Better by far, we heard
From Jeremy – how absurd!

Jeremy married a wife,
Then, [three lines deleted because I have acquired some decency with age]

[Whole verse deleted for same reason]

Jeremy butchered a hound,
Nor ever was uttered a sound
Within our English shores –
Oh, horrid libel laws!

Beware, O Male Model,
As murder’s quite a doddle
For those to place elected,
Or rich and well-connected.

As I write, other fragments come to mind. Here is part of an antiphonal chorus:

Pillow-biting Norman, young and ignorant and poor,
Took his doggy, Rinka, for a walk on Porlock Moor….

Here is part of a soliloquy:

Three days has the Jury been out.
Three days have I watched and waited, waited and watched,
For some sign that my ordeal is over.
And, in this time, have I gone on sinning –
Sinning and partly-sinning –
In the hope that greater sins may cover lesser sins,
As lesser sins may cover tiny sins,
And so on till there are no sins at all….

And here is the end of a police officer’s speech, in which he moves between English and Latin (excuse the false quantity):

Mendax es honestior,
Doloris donor cani:
Quam os tuum castior
Podex est Normani.

My sole talent as a poet, I regret to say, is for defamation. Forty years of scribbling, and I haven’t produced anything memorable that isn’t a gross insult.


  • Did Thorpe kill a dog?. I hope not. I’d see him dead just for that.

  • You Latin one at the end is the best. Reminiscent of Ovid I would say.

  • The late A. Waugh used to marvel that the Liberal Party could have collapsed from Mr Gladstone to Mr Thorpe in one life time. Not just in conduct – but in beliefs.

    Mr Waugh also stood as a Parliamentary candidate for the “Dog Lovers Party”.

  • Well, it’s difficult to know what to make of the current Establishment sex scandals and claims of a cover-up of paedophilia and even murder – it seems there may be something in it, but that the whole thing is spiralling into a lurid mass of claims impossible to really assess at this historical remove – but I think it is undoubtable that senior figures could get away with dreadful things in years gone past. Thorpe may had a ‘lucky’ escape in the court verdict. A lot of the other claims seem to contain a lot of jumping on the band wagon, but I’m enjoying seeing some senior figures squirm as Theresa May’s inquiry proceeds.

    • I find it hard to believe that we are ruled by a clique of homicidal paedophiles. On the other hand, many things I used to have trouble believing have turned out to be at least partially true.

  • I wouldn’t be too keen on the Fish-Faced Hag’s activities Mr Webb. Not if your dick is still attached to the rest of you.

    The whole paedo caper has reached its culmination in the Savile farrago and the utterly iniquitous persecution of old men who most likely have done nothing. Why?–so that radfem scum could position themselves to begin the same witch-hunt with the same non-existent standards of proof in the halls of power. While normally I would like nothing more to than to see political scum get a kicking–not in this case. Radfem scum will leave a situation where even those not accused will be smeared by reason of having a penis. And where will a “safe” pair of hands be found to run the shit–sorry–ship of state. Why amongst the untainted girlies–because there is no such thing as a female paedo dont’cha know?. Enter the Hag who is falling over herself to introduce as much tinpot tyranny as she can spit out with her available supply of bad breath. Under the impression that this equates her with Thatcher. Remember that this is the dozy bitch who thinks that 100,000 underage Viet girls have been landed in this country as prisoners and are being forced to work out of the UKs nail bars–all 1500 of them. Thatcher had her problems but that dumb she never was.

  • I’m going to ignore the comments, which seem to be leading us away from the point. And to reply directly to Sean’s post in my own way.

    There was once a young man I won’t name;
    His verses were totally tame.
    He said, “I’m a poet,
    But while I do know it,
    I cannot do more than defame.”

    In poetry – as in much else – practice makes perfect. So I look forward to Sean’s response in hexameters (or was that pentameters).

    • I thought the Latin was good in a mediaeval sort of way.

      However, you ask for defamation, so here goes:

      There was a man called Lock,
      Who, like a broken clock,
      Was right twice a day –
      Though never, I’ll say,
      Critiquing a lay
      Young Sean had written to shock.

      • Stands the church clock at ten to three;
        It’s right twice every day – like me.
        A compliment so fine! That’s fab!
        It’s made my day. Thanks, Dr Gabb.

        • In prose and verse, Neil Lock
          Presumed Sean Gabb to mock.
          His effort was insanity,
          For, such our Seanie’s vanity,
          A harder, crueller knock
          Was needed than Neil Lock
          could land in hope to dock
          Sean of his equanimity.

          • A little defamation, Sir? Certainly.

            I thought I saw Horatius
            Defend a bridge with great defiance;
            I looked again, and saw it was
            The Libertarian Alliance.
            They all know how to Gabb, I thought,
            But they have neither art nor science.

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