Terence DuQuesne: Obituary for a Pagan

by Alexander Baron

Egyptologist, classical scholar and author Terence DuQuesne died in a Croydon hospital, Thursday, April 17; he had been ill for some time. The following obituary was compiled with some assistance from his executor.

Born at Cambridge in 1942, he won scholarships to Dulwich and Oxford. He was the author or co-author of more than a dozen books including the 1964 critical bibliography Catalogi Librorum Eroticorum, and the 1986 study Britain: An Unfree Country, which he co-wrote with Edward Goodman. His expertise led to his being invited to write the entry for imiut in the on-line UCLA Encyclopedia Of Egyptology. He also published three volumes of his own poetry including Caduceus.

By the age of 13, the young Terry Deakin was already reading Greek poetry in the original. He is said to have claimed that one of his main motivations for learning ancient Greek was to be able to read Sappho in her original language. In 1990, he published a translation of her works after rejecting earlier renditions as “dull and distorted reflexions”.

Terence Duquesne was active in the Libertarian movement; in 1986 he published Illicit Drugs: Myth And Reality for the Libertarian Alliance. This was presented to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

He was also a practising pagan, and in his will dated June 8, 2004, he directed “on no account shall my body be buried or the ashes from my cremation be placed in ground consecrated to the Christian religion”. His patron deity was Anubis, the jackal-headed God of the Dead, and it is hardly surprising that he should have published a new translation of the Egyptian Book Of The Dead. Continue reading

David Botsford RIP

I’ve just heard from Kevin McFarlane that David Botsford died earlier this month in London of a suspected heart attack. He was 49.

He was, in the 1980s and 90s, one of the most prolific Libertarian Alliance authors. Here is a partial listing of his writings for us:


I will, when I have more facts, write an obituary. Until then, my sympathies to all his friends and loved ones. Here is the longest notice of his death that Nigel Meek has been able to find:

Former British Weekly columnist David Botsford dead at 49

July 12, 2013 5:02 pm

The British Weekly received some sad news on Thursday with the death of David Botsford, a former columnist for this newspaper, and an occasional guest editor, most recently in April of 2012. David died at his mother’s home in central London. The cause of death was not available at press time. He was just 49 years old.

David Botsford (left) was a history graduate of King’s College, London, who held a variety of jobs in film production, editing and information technology before moving into hypnotherapy in the early 1990s. He had a busy practice in London’s Notting Hill and Harley Street, specializing in smoking cessation and eating disorders. He moved to Florida four years ago, hoping to expand his business into the American market.

David was a talented writer and a kind and generous friend to all who knew him. He was also a gifted raconteur and a lively dinner table companion. As one of his friends wrote this week on Facebook: ‘Whenever David was around there was never a dull moment, he always had something interesting to say whatever the subject being discussed and liked nothing better than the intellectual challenge of arguing against the status quo.’

David leaves behind his sister, Elizabeth, and his mother, Pamela. He will be greatly missed by this newspaper, and by all those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Obituary: David Alec Webb, 1931-2012

David Alec Webb, Actor and Legal Reform Campaigner,
6th March 1931-30th June 2012
Prepared by Sean Gabb
First published in The Libertarian Enterprise


David Alec Webb, wit, raconteur, well-known actor on stage, screen and television, and tireless – and ultimately successful – opponent of the laws against pornography, died on the 30th June this year, at the age of 81

The son of a car worker, he was born in Luton in 1931. He attended LutonGrammar School, where he did well academically and became Head Boy. After national service in the Army Education Corps, where he became a sergeant, he got a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). From here, he embarked on a long and successful career that began on the West End stage, but soon migrated to television. He was a prominent character in the early days of Coronation Street. Worried about the dangers of typecasting, he soon moved on, and, between the 1960s and the beginning of the present century, made well over 700 appearances in television programmes. These included Upstairs, Downstairs, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Tales of the Unexpected, Doctor Who, and The Avengers. He also found time for the cinema, appearing in, among much else, The Battle of Britain. In a profession which, notoriously, has an unemployment rate of 80 per cent, he was never out of work. Continue reading

RIP David Webb

by Sean Gabb

Note: I am, of course, not referring to our own David Webb in this annoucement. The last time I noticed, he was alive and well. SIG

It is with the deepest regret that I must announce the death at 3pm today (30th June 2012) of David Webb, well-known and much-loved actor on stage, screen and television, and Director of the National Campaign for the Reform of the Obscene Publications Acts (NCROPA).

It is partly thanks to David’s tireless, and often thankless, campaigning over the years that we enjoy our present semi-relaxation of the laws against sexual expression. I helped publicise his campaign against the Customs and Excise in the 1990s, when he challenged their use of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 to seize a mass of pornographic videos that he had imported from Holland and declared on arrival here as “for personal use!” Though his challenge failed on a technicality in the Court of Appeal, the 1876 Act is nowadays used far less aggressively than in the 1980s and 1990s. I also fondly remember joining him on the platform at the NCROPA fringe meeting at the 1992 Conservative Party conference in Brighton. Otherwise, David was a frequent speaker throughout the United Kingdom on issues of sexual liberation, and he stood for Parliament on more than one occasion.

David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year. Though his doctors believed he had another year of life, his health began to fail a few weeks ago, and he died today peacefully and in his sleep at Trinity Hospice in Clapham.

He was 82. He was unmarried and without children.

I will make a further announcement when I know details of the funeral. His obituary will be written by Edward Goodman, his friend and associate of many years.

All who were privileged to know him will agree that David was a good and generous friend, with a fine sense of humour and an endless fund of anecdotes about his main career as an actor.

We will remember him.

Richard Garner RIP

I’ve just picked this up from Oliver Deckard on FaceBook. I don’t yet know what happened, but wish to express my own shock and sorrow at this terrible loss. Richard was a young man with so much promise. He had so much to enjoy and so much to contribute. His loss diminishes us all. SIG

Sadly, we lost another libertarian at the weekend it seems. Continue reading

Antony Flew RIP

flewSean Gabb


I came across Antony’s work in the early 1980s, when I first discovered David Hume. I admired Antony without ever supposing I’d meet him. We did eventually meet in June 1992. I was sitting in my office in the Prime Minister’s Palace in Bratislava. The telephone rang. It was one of the guards on the main door. He told me there was a strange old man with him who understood a little German, but no Slovak, and who was unable to make himself understood. I went down, and found it was the great Professor Flew. He’d arrived at the main railway station to give some lectures for the Jan Hus Foundation, but hadn’t been met. So he’d wandered the streets of a Bratislava where almost no one in those days knew any English. Eventually, for some reason I was never able to discover, he’d been pushed towards the Prime Minister’s Palace. I took him off to his hotel and got him booked in. Before we parted, he asked if I’d like to go with him the following morning to the site of Austerlitz (Slavkov) to inspect the battlefield. Continue reading

Obituary: Chris R. Tame

Obituary by Sean Gabb
of Dr Christopher Ronald Tame
(20thDecember 1949-20thMarch 2006)
Founder and President of the Libertarian Alliance
(Published in The Independent, 23rd March 2006

TameScholar, bibliographer, writer, political strategist, martial artist and fan of Elvis Presley, Chris R. Tame will be best remembered as the Founder of the Libertarian Alliance. In this capacity, he worked tirelessly for over 30 years to recreate a British liberal tradition that had disintegrated, and to establish clear title for those of his own views to the word “libertarian”.

Chris was born at 7:36pm on the 20thDecember 1949 in Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield, Middlesex. He was brought up in Godalming in Surrey. His parents, Ronald Ernest and Elsie Florence Tame, had met and married just after the end of the Second World War, and Chris was to be their only child. They loved him dearly and he was a happy child, though his health was often poor.

After attending a Church of England primary school and the local grammar school, he went up to Hull University, from where he graduated in 1971 with a degree in American Studies. From his school reports and his examination certificates, Chris succeeded in his education partly by a natural taste for learning and partly though unremitting hard work

He settled in London at a time of great and continuing political excitement. High inflation, rising unemployment, unsustainable levels of taxation and state control, had raised doubts over the legitimacy of the mixed-economy-welfare-state settlement of the 1940s and of the political and social order that presided over it. Allied with trade union bosses, a generation of radicalised students was plotting to replace the old order with some socialist utopia. They were resisted by various conservative and free market policy institutes all more or less funded by big business. The boundaries of debate had never been so wide. Even so, the limits of debate were soviet socialism at one end and at the other a restored Establishment that had read some economics. Continue reading