Thursday, March 09, 2006

(130) Lord Longford, the other sinners and myself

My wife, six month old son and I caught the 10.10 a.m. train from Hastings to London on April 7th 1997.
A few moments before it pulled out I purchased copies of The Daily Mail and The Times.

After some deliberation my wife selected a place for us to sit, influenced by choosing a carriage towards the front of the train and then moving along inside it to be away from draughts.

I noticed a letter in The Times from Lord Longford, which the paper had published under the heading "Modern Morality".

In it he wrote of how forty years earlier he had said in Parliament that consentual sex between men should not be classified as a crime, but that at no time had he said that he approved of homosexuality.

Its final paragraph was:

St Augustine said it clearly for all time – we must condemn the sin and love the sinner. Bearing in mind that we are all sinners in our various ways we do well to follow St Augustine’s guidance.

About twenty-five minutes into the journey who should get on, with his wife, and seat himself behind me, but Lord Frank Longford.
Although I had met Lord Longford at a dinner in 1986, this was the only time I had seen him since.

And minutes later when the inspector came along it was discovered that they had both boarded without a ticket!
He let them pay without penalising them further.

The previous evening I had admitted that, after an abstinence of nine months, I had lapsed and gone back to gambling.

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