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Nov Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 6 N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 941 In his report on the scandal, Lord Denning had this warning about salacious material: Scandalous information about well-known people has become a marketable commodity. True or false, actual or invented, it can be sold. The greater the scandal the higher the price it commands. If supported by photographs or letters, real or imaginary, all the better. Often enough the sellers profess to have been themselves participants in the discreditable conduct which they seek to exploit. Intermediaries move in, ready to assist the same and ensure the highest prices. The story improves with the telling. It is offered to those newspapers—there are only a few of them—who deal in this commodity. They vie with one another to buy it. Each is afraid the other will get it first. So they buy it on chance that it will turn out profitable. Sometimes it is no use to them. It is palpably false. At other times it is credible. But even so, they dare not publish the whole of the information. The law of libel and the rules of contempt of court exert an effective restraint. They publish what they can, but there remains a substantial part which is not fit for publication. This unpublished part goes around by word of mouth. It does not stop in Fleet Street. It goes to Westminster. It crosses the Channel, even the Atlantic and back again, swelling all the time. Yet without the original purchase it might never have got started on its way. Cliveden is now a luxury hotel. It has a famous swimming pool by which one can presumably read salacious material and otherwise enjoy oneself. ENDNOTES 1. Lord Denning’s Report: The Circumstances Leading to the Resignation of the Former Secretary of State For War, Mr JD Profumo (24 October 1963), Parliamentary Archives HL/PO/JO/10/11/874/1661. 2. The same day The Beatles’ first LP Please Please Me was released in the UK. 3. The day Paul McCartney met Jane Asher at the Albert Hall. He moved into her home on Wimpole Street, half a block away from Ward’s flat in December 1963. t t t t t


Nov Advocate 2017
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