24 November 1960
Thank you for forwarding Keith Wedmore's letter of the 4th. This is by way of brief acknowledgement and I wonder whether you would be so good to act as an Intermediary? I was deeply touched at this thoughtfulness in commenting on my comments, and I'm only sorry that as I didn't keep a carbon and returned the document to you I've very little idea of what most of it is about. However, that in no way diminishes from the vast pleasure I had in his letter.
I think in point of fact that I could summon from the vasty deep most of the points, but I doubt whether it's worth my while doing so when the text has now had a hundred visions and revisions before the taking of a toast and tea. But if it is thought to be of the slightest use to the Bidder Committee (I decline to be drawn on KW's use of QCB) I am perfectly willing to comment on any further drafts as they become available. I think that with Wedmore's chapter list I can make slightly more intelligent comments, but if he thinks an explanatory covering letter would keep me on the rails, that might be even better. I think that on the whole I would prefer to deal with the matter through you if you're prepared to do all the forwarding, and I assume that KW marks his letters to you "confidential."
The one point on which I do still feel strongly is the lengthy quotation from Hansard about the Labouchere amendment. I have two grounds for my hesitation:--
a. style. I feel that it is most dangerous to incorporate long quotations unless there is an overwhelming necessity, and if KW insists on his full quote I am afraid that it will result in skipping, which is precisely what he wants to avoid. Let him state in the text forcefully that the amendment was introduced at a late stage in a fairly empty House on a bill for an entirely different purpose, and then if he likes refer to Appendix I for the recitation of the relevant Hansard. But to include the quotations will simply defeat his purpose.
b. politics. Is not undue emphasis on the 1885 law rather dangerous? In general I am in favor of Fabian tactics and letting freedom broaden down from precedent to precedent and all that, but recent suggestions of simple compromise of repealing the Labouchere amendment seems like to result in an intolerable and administratively unworkable situation. I think it is quite right to say that the L. amendment was almost accidental, but not to stress it, since the 1861 Offences against the Person Act, re-enacting a three-hundred old statute against buggery, was presumably quite considered and deliberate. It should hardly need stressing (the Wolfenden Report, I think, makes the point) that it is quite ludicrous for one form of homosexual lovemaking to be made legal in private, while another is not. I speak out of a desire for fair play and not as an interested party--I dislike it personally, passively because of piles and actively because it is extraordinarily hard to kiss another man's lips while having an orgasm without pulling half the muscles in one's back.
This is much longer that I meant it to be and I won't blame KW if he decides that he can't bear more maundering comments and would rather not send me future drafts as they are completed. But if this hasn't put him off and he really thinks I can do anything to help, I'll be glad to try my best.