Sometimes the good die old

Leo Abse, the former Welsh MP who steered through the 1967 legislation to partially decriminalise male homosexuality in England and Wales, has died at the age of 91.  Most people think that the 1967 Sexual Offences Act was a piece of government sponsored legislation, but actually it was a private member’s Bill (although, like all private member’s Bills that make it into law, it was tacitly supported by the government of the day).  Strangely enough, although the written BBC story talks about his wife and two children, the embedded video makes no mention of his personal life, although it does find quite a lot of time to dwell on his ‘flamboyant style of dress’, which would probably lead a lot of people to incorrectly assume he was gay.

In addition to his work in support of gay rights, Mr Abse was also a leading figure in parliamentary campaigns to liberalise divorce law, set up a national adoption and fostering system, abolish the death penalty, and legalise IVF treatment for infertile couples.  In an interview he gave last year he said that his aim during his parliamentary career had been to ‘humanise and civilise our laws’.

You succeeded, sir, you succeeded.

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4 Responses to Sometimes the good die old

  1. cb says:

    That’s a really lovely tribute, Aethel. Truly public-spirited politicians are rare and should indeed, be celebrated.

  2. Pingback: Leo Abse « Fighting Monsters

  3. The Chuckle says:

    I agree with CB, far too few politicians who see their work as a chance to change the world for the better first and foremost, as opposed to a distant second behind self aggrandisement.

  4. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks, as always, for the comments. :o)

    I certainly would agree that Leo Abse was an exceptional politician, but i try not to be too cynical about politicians in general.

    Most backbenchers never really get heard about, except in their constituencies, and spend a lot of their time gathering evidence in unglamorous parliamentary commitees, and in other unsung activities. I think probably the majority of politicians are motivated by genuine reasons. For example, there are dozens of labour backbenchers who are refusing to waver in their opposition to so-called “anti-terrorist” legislation, even though that opposition will almost certainly cost them their jobs at the next election.

    Ok, i’ll get off my hobby-horse now, since i’m just re-hashing old ground… ;o)

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