Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Profumo Affair

This "cause celebre`" livened up the daily reading habits of the people of Britain in 1963, and kept the Sunday papers busy digging up whatever they could.  It resulted in a Government minister having to resign his post after admitting that he lied to the House of Commons, and a showcase trial of a man viewed by many as a scapegoat for the whole affair.  It all started when society Osteopath, Stephen Ward, introduced the then Minister for War, John Profumo to a young woman named Christine Keeler, at a party at Cliveden, the residence of Lord Astor.  She went on to have rendezvous` with Profumo at the flat belonging to Ward.  This was in Wimpole Mews in London.  But a huge fly in the ointment was to appear.  Also at that party in July 1961, was a Russian Naval attache`, a Captain Eugene Ivanov, who Miss Keeler also entertained at Wards` flat.  The implications were huge as this was at the height of the Cold War, with blackmail being a possibility.  There were claims that they paid her for sex, but this has never been proven.

    When details of the affair came out in public, Profumo, married to actress Valerie Hobson  (she played the Baron`s young wife in the classic Bride of Frankenstein), told the House of Commons in March 1963, that there was no impropriety between himself and Miss Keeler.  Two months later, he admitted that this was untrue and resigned his post.  Another young woman involved in the case was Mandy Rice-Davies, a reported exhibitionist.  She had also been a girlfriend of notorious slum racketeer Peter Rachman.  Stephen Ward then found himself on charges of living off immoral earnings; in other words, a pimp.  At the summing up part of the trial, Ward took an overdose, and later died.  His friends believed it was the Establishments` revenge on him over Profumo.  When Mandy Rice-Davies was told at the trial that Lord Astor denied being a friend, she famously replied "Well, he would say that, wouldn`t he?"  At the funeral of Ward, a wreath was sent from some of his friends.  Kenneth Tynan, who caused a furore when he said "fuck" on live TV in 1965, John Osborne, playwright(Cyril Kinnear in Get Carter) & playwright Joe Orton(Loot & Entertaining Mr Sloane, and biopic Prick Up Your Ears)

    A report was commissioned by Lord Denning, that conveniently laid everything at the door of Stephen Ward, and he hosted disgusting parties where all manners of acts were performed.  Really?  Nothing was ever said about the homosexual parties that Lord Boothby, Tom Driberg MP and Ronnie Kray attended.  During some research I came across a prosecution for indecent behaviour when in April 1960, a policeman & Police woman, posing as a couple, went into a pub in Dewsbury and witnessed a disgusting show.  A strip show.  oh dear, she must have taken her knickers off and showed her wares.  Dear, dear me.  The stripper in question had been brought up from London.  Yet activities like big parties where anything goes, have gone off since time began.  Usually, it is okay for those in positions of power and influence, but when pubs or clubs have had strippers on that turn into sex shows, the managers spend their time watching for Police.  I have heard a good number of tales like this.  Hypocritical.