13:32, June 06 341 0 theguardian.com

2018-06-06 13:32:23
A very English scandal that rumbles on still

Well it has to be said that’s a pretty scathing and unnecessary attack on my father, Peter Bessell, from Paul Tyler (Letters, 4 June).

Lord Tyler, Sherborne- and Oxford-educated, pillar of the establishment, appears to be smarting at the fundamental moral shift in society since another establishment pillar, Mr Justice Cantley, humiliated my father and instigated one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in the 20th century.

Thus, he still, even in this day and age, prefers to ally himself with arguably the most biased summing up ever, rather than admit that my father, whatever personality faults he may have had, was justified in testifying against someone he believed had conspired to murder.

Some dinosaurs are so entrenched in the glory days of “we’ll all take care of each other” that even now, even in these days of social and moral enlightenment, they still can’t resist trying to destroy those who expose them.

So if Lord Tyler, the man who immediately managed to lose my father’s parliamentary constituency after his resignation, wants to criticise him, I’ll take that all day and wear it as a badge of honour. I’m sorry, Lord Tyler but, for people like you, I’m delighted to say your time has passed.

Paul Bessell

Whaddon, Buckinghamshire

Stephen Frears is a great director who fully deserves the plaudits heaped on the TV production of A Very English Scandal. But he is wrong to dismiss the calls for investigation of the outstanding unexplained issues so casually (Far too late to reopen Thorpe affair inquiry, says director Frears, 4 June).

The undeniably farcical aspects of the story made for great television, but mustn’t be allowed to obscure those serious questions. In particular, Tom Mangold’s belief, based on extensive research, that corroborative evidence of Thorpe’s involvement in the murder plot was suppressed calls for proper examination.

The establishment’s well-known propensity for protecting its own while deeming others undeserving of credence or respect still resonates today.

Nicholas Billingham


As has been so brilliantly demonstrated by John Preston’s 2016 book A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment, and its adaption by Russell T Davies, directed by Stephen Frears for the BBC, Norman Scott was treated abominably by the establishment and savaged by the press in the Jeremy Thorpe case. In his refusal to submit to passivity and silence, and his determination to speak out about injustice, he joins Quentin Crisp in the ranks of the “stately homos of England” who nobly serve the homosexual civil rights movement which was gaining momentum at this time. Surely he deserves some sort of honour as a mark of recognition of his suffering, courage and perseverance in the face of injustice.

Dr Roger Cook


Having lived through the Jeremy Thorpe era as Liberal supporters, we have been enthralled by A Very English Scandal. It gave some indication of the impact he had on the electorate, but it was only when you saw and heard him in the flesh that you could appreciate not only his charisma, which he used to the full, but his oratory. It now seems to be a lost art, but I will never forget hearing him address a meeting and the effect that it had.

Christine Napier

Peebles, Scottish Borders

Surely the most worrying point in Geoffrey Robertson’s article (Here’s another Thorpe scandal – its chilling legacy in law, 2 June) is his report of Lord Widgery’s dementia and the fact that it was covered up by the legal establishment. Were the cases Widgery presided over in the late 1970s ever reviewed? If not, why not?

John Deval


Your report (I saw lurid details of Jeremy Thorpe’s lover in files – Straw, 5 June) reminds me that Harold Wilson’s surprise resignation on 16 March 1976 took place on the same day as the start of Andrew Newton’s trial at Exeter crown court. Was there a connection after all?

Richard Willmott


Why did Norman Scott not apply for a new national insurance card?

Jim Lynch

Milton Keynes

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