Tuesday, June 05, 2018

On 5 June, in 1963.....

From Wikipedia's list of happenings on 5 June, it is noted that on this day, in 1963 (now 55 years ago!) British Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, was forced to admit that he had lied to the House - an unforgivable offence in British politics. He resigned from office, from the House, and from the Privy Council. Profumo had been at the centre of a scandal involving his affair with high class prostitute, Christine Keeler.

"It soon became apparent to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (photograph on right) that Profumo's position was untenable. On 5 June 1963, Profumo was forced to admit that he had lied to the House, an unforgivable offence in British politics. He resigned from office, from the House, and from the Privy Council. Before making his public confession Profumo confessed the affair to his wife, who stood by him. It was never shown that his relationship with Keeler had led to any breach of national security. The scandal rocked the Conservative government, and was generally held to have been among the causes of its defeat by Labour at the 1964 election. Harold Macmillan had already gone by then, having resigned in October 1963 to be succeeded by Alec Douglas-Home."
John Profumo, Britain's disgraced Secretary of State for War had been at the centre of a scandal, with potential to bring the entire government down. Profumo was one of Dr. Stephen Ward's "clients". Ward was a successful osteopath with a client list filled with some of the wealthiest individuals in the UK. As a sideline, he procured the services of high class prostitutes for the use of many prominent people in public life, some of whom were his clients.

John Profumo (left) entered into an affair with high-class prostitute, Christine Keeler, not realising that she was also sleeping with (among others) a naval attache at the embassy of the Soviet Union(Russia), and this was during the Cold War! The affair resulted in John Profumo eventually resigning his government post on 5 June 1963.

I think I'm right in saying that those who lived through the "Profumo Affair" in Britain have never forgotten it, it almost brought down the whole government.

Profumo, in betraying his wife, film star Valerie Hobson, and carrying on a affair with Christine Keeler, thought his powerful position made him invulnerable. There have been many men in similar situations since, there were many before, and will be many more in the future.

The late Robin Williams once said: "God gave us all a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run one at a time". Yes indeed!.

When eventually arrested, Stephen Ward, the procurer, was accused of living off immoral earnings, he committed suicide rather than go to jail.

Shortly after his resignation, Baron Profumo was invited to work as a volunteer by Walter Birmingham, the warden of Toynbee Hall, in a charity based in the East End of London. He continued to work there for the rest of his life. He became Toynbee Hall's chief fundraiser, and used his political skills and contacts to raise large sums of money. All this work was done as a volunteer, since Profumo was able to live on his inherited wealth. Profumo died, aged 90, on 9 March 2006. His wife, the actress Valerie Hobson, stood by him and also devoted herself to charity until her death in 1998.

In the eyes of most commentators, Profumo's charity work redeemed his reputation. His friend, social reform campaigner Lord Longford, said he "felt more admiration [for Profumo] than [for] all the men I've known in my lifetime".

See Wikipedia biography

For Profumo's natal chart see astro.com
John Dennis Profumo, 5th Baron Profumo - born on 30 January 1915
Place Kensington, London, England.


Wisewebwoman said...

Oh I am upset, my last comment vanished. A rantish one too. I'm back to see your response.

OK I'll scrape the bottom of the skull here.

I remember that era well and how these foolish and abusive men were brought down by their use and abuse of female bodies.

I do not believe in "sex work". Women's bodies as commodities is anathema to me, from childbearing and surrogacy to trafficking (most such women are trafficked) to prostitution. I know a few exited prostitutes who have enlightened me as to their academy award acting abilities to stay in the "trade" which they find repugnant. Their lives are horrific.

Sorry to derail but when I was still in the business of dating (many) men one of the questions I always asked was if they used the services of prostitutes, it was a deal-breaker if they did.



Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ "The Oldest Profession" they call it. I feel for those desperate women who have to do it out of sheer necessity, in order to feed their kids. Yes, it's horrific - not to mention very dangerous! I do not feel one iota for the so-called "high class" prostitutes such as Christine Keeler.

Sorry your comment vanished, WWW - I checked spam and waiting moderation folders but no sign of it. Blogger perhaps had a hiccup.

Wisewebwoman said...

I don't classify prostitutes, T, according to their imagined level of income.

I've known "high end" and invariably they were abused as children, usually incested, and escaped their homes early only to be groomed by predator pimps who got them hooked on drugs or alcohol so they could "perform" for seedy johns who engaged in terrible perversions and painful practices.

They are very often left with terrible internal injuries and infertility.

This is the stuff never talked about. It is appalling. And so few escape it.

I find all of it terribly heartbreaking.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ I haven't known any prostitutes personally, WWW, so you are much better informed than I am on this. I know only what I read, which is often a mix of truth, half-truths and outright lies.

Yes, it really is heartbreaking that human nature hasn't, by the 21st century, evolved past such wild-animal-like actions in some human males. In fact wild animals have rather more sense of decency, come to think of it!