Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Leo Abse, British Law Reform Champion, Dies.

This photo was taken of Leo Abse in 1965 - the year I was born.
Even without knowing anything about him or his achievements, you can tell so much about him from the picture itself.

The first thing that struck me was how Abse looks a bit like the famous actor Anthony Hopkins [Hannibal Lecter]. In fact, both men are indeed from Wales and possibly both equally fiery and rebellious.
One can plainly see that he has oodles of confidence and style.
Observing his ornate chintzy shirt and cocked hat, and the arrangement of unusual buttons as they slope upwards on his jacket, you just know he is a man setting himself apart - a born leader - an outrageous character born to push the envelope of life.
Even on what is obviously a sunny day, Leo presents himself immaculately complete with gloves and silver-tipped cane... a true British gentleman, with a twist, prepared for all occasions.

Mr Abse died last night after a short illness aged 91.

The Law was his life.

He became a Labour MP and was directly responsible for monumental changes in British Law such as the Act which decriminalised homosexuality in 1967. He also ushered in the long-awaited divorce laws and was a champion for the rights and status of children.

He was a bon viveur and socialite. He also possessed a fine intellect having written several books - most recently a study of bi-sexuality, and a Freudian re-reading of Biblical stories.

Leo Abse lobbied for Gay Rights at a time when few others dared.
His unshakable sense of fair play and his privileged political position drove his law reform to its natural conclusion.

He is survived by his second wife, Ania.

The photographer who took this recent picture, Ade Reilly, wrote that the single hour he spent with Leo Abse and his wife, renewed his vigour for taking pictures.

He also remarked how obviously in love they were.

All told, it is heart-warming to realise that truly good, nice, decent people still exist - and how they change the world... from the inside out.

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