On the face of it and with delightful incongruity, the early lives of the late Jeremy Thorpe and the even later Peter Cook are remarkably similar.
Cook was born in Devon and as a son of a colonial diplomat “enjoyed” a public school education at Radley College and then Pembroke, Cambridge. Apart from joining the footlights revue, he also joined the Cambridge University Liberal Club. Thorpe was born 18 years earlier and as a son of a Tory MP, “enjoyed” a public school education at Eton and then Trinity, Oxford where he read law and later still became the Liberal MP for North Devon. Here the similarities begin to diverge. Cook opened the Establishment Club in Soho and Thorpe embraced the other establishment as the leader of the Liberal Party. With one of them making a living out of political satire and the other making a living out of political expedience, both men were probably fully aware of what Cyril Smith was up to. (more…)