The Thorpe affair of the 1970s was a British political and sex scandal
that ended the career of Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal Party
and Member of Parliament for North Devon. The scandal arose from
allegations by Norman Scott of a homosexual affair, at a time when such
relationships were illegal in the United Kingdom. Thorpe denied any such
liaison and largely managed to avoid public and press scrutiny, but
Scott’s allegations were a persistent threat for years, endangering the
Liberal Party’s mid-1970s revival. Unsuccessful attempts to buy Scott’s
silence and frighten him culminated in 1975 with the shooting of his dog
by a hired gunman. The police investigation and publicity forced
Thorpe’s resignation. He and three others were charged with conspiracy
to murder Scott, but the main prosecution witnesses were undermined by,
among other factors, their financial arrangements with newspapers. All
four defendents were acquitted, although there were later claims that
important prosecution evidence had been suppressed by the police.
Thorpe’s reputation was damaged irreparably by evidence that was
uncontested, and he did not return to public life.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
A climbing team led by two German brothers became the first to
reach the summit of the Jungfrau, one of the main summits of the Bernese
A strike by agricultural workers in Wheatland, California, US,
degenerated into a riot, one of the first major farm labor
confrontations in California.
African American athlete Jesse Owens won the first of his four
gold medals at the Berlin Summer Olympics, dashing Nazi leaders’ hopes
of Aryan domination.
Niger officially gained independence from France as part of the
decolonization of the French Community.
Former Deputy Director of the Chilean secret police Raúl
Iturriaga was captured after having been on the run following a
conviction for kidnapping.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
1. (firefighting) To ascend a building or wall using a ladder.
2. (of a knitted garment) To develop a ladder as a result of a broken
Wikiquote quote of the day:
It was a hopeless thing, he thought, this obsession of his to
present the people of the Earth as good and reasonable. For in many ways
they were neither good nor reasonable; perhaps because they had not as
yet entirely grown up. They were smart and quick and at times
compassionate and even understanding, but they failed lamentably in many
other ways. But if they had the chance … if they ever got a break, if
they only could be told what was out in space, then they’d get a grip
upon themselves and they would measure up and then, in the course of
time, would be admitted into the great cofraternity of the people of the
–Clifford D. Simak
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