21 JUNE 1963, Page 15

The Profumo Case T. W. Gadd The New British James


Colin Maclnnes. J. Campbell

Timothy Birdsall Ronald Searle, Miss J. Blake Parents' Privilege Mrs. M. Eagling Britain and South Africa Charles Adeane.

Lloyd George Dingle Foot. MP German Farmers Rolf Gardiner


SIR,-If there is anything about the events concern- ing Mr. Profumo that has caused one person disgust at all it is the reaction of the herd element of the Conservative party. It seems that beneath all the righteous indignation the main motivation has been fear for their own political careers and prospects even amongst those whose statements have been non-hysterical and reasOnably objective. (As for the others—the Cordless Osbornes.and Hailshams—after the feeling of nausea has worn off their comments can be totally ignored.) Yet even those whose public utterances do not normally revolt one have, in the last few days, gone down severely in my admittedly unimportant esti- mation : men like Mr. Enoch Powell and Sir Edward Boyle for whom I used to have great respect at least when I was a Conservative agent some years ago. Surely the resignation gimmick or even suggestion of it is much overworked these days. As any form of judgment it borders on arrogance and self-conceit especially in cases like this. To resign because of contamination neurosis is surely self- preening. It could also be just showing-off. And if the conscience is genuinely giving trouble you can't resign from that. We should, however, be perhaps careful what we develop consciences over. In these days few people are deep-down impressed by resignations from political office since in many cases it is overdue.

Don't knock me down, but what has Mr. Profumo done wrong that is after all the business of anyone but himself? The only case against his as a member of society is that he has consorted with a woman known to have consorted with other men, and that he has both denied and admitted it. No more than pot-and-kettle grounds for judgment there from practically any man. The only case against him as a Minister is that he has both denied and admitted it now to all and sundry. But, almost as the Daily Worker points out, one expects statements that are not true from people in government. Let's be brutally honest: it is practically impossible to be a Minister of State and not tell or act lies. And this Minister was only lying about going with a woman. (And may I say while I'm being brutally honest, and in the vernacular quite a dish too if you like that sort of dish—as I do. I couldn't, incidentally, some- how visualise some of Mr. Profumo's attackers 'with' Miss Keeler if you follow what I mean; not without being amused by the vision anyway.) Security? I have rather a feeling that pure moral rectitude, especially in sexual matters, is a grave security risk. I am sure that the dividing line be- tween a reliable and an'unreliable person is not a sexual one pure and simple to put it another way. Mind you, all Mr. Profumo's critics are practically Chinese-bending to say that they are not saying that Mr. Profumo would-7so we can be pretty sure what they are trying to say. Nobody condemns a man for merely going with a 'certain type of woman'—but he doesn't stand a bloody chance if they find out. Well, the pure white soul of England has been besmirched beyond repair and we shall all be blown up by the Russians. But I shall still want to be governed by men like Mr. Profumo rather than by men like Cordle, Hailsham, Osborne and Co.

I might as well say now that this is a dreadful age to live in when going with a woman and denying it (i.e., not giving everybody the satisfaction of know- ing about it), is pig-bladdered up into a scandal and what is really scandalous (i.e., making horrible sexual noises in the throat and commercialising it for entertainment and causing millions of young people to go hysterically sexually silly over it). is either quite unobserved as such or may in fact be offered for applause and respect.

And I might as well say that I am shocked and angered at the way Mr. Profumo has been treated. We shall suffer far more from the fuss and cant over what he has done than from the deeds themselves. THOMAS W. GADD 27 Moorland Road, Didsbury, Manchester 20