ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
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- Published 12.03.05
|WHO SAID WHAT|
|On Kimberly Quinn: |
One assumes that when Kimberly Quinn, the fun-loving publisher of The Spectator magazine, dies, David Blunkett will not be writing to Stephen Quinn the kind of condolence letter that Graham Greene sent to Harry Walston, millionaire Labour MP-turned-peer.
Walston?s American-born wife, Catherine, had been Greene?s favourite lover and the muse for The Heart of the Matter. British history certainly has examples of many a fine upper-class chap who has laid down his wife for a friend. Such a person was Walston who thanked Greene on September 18, 1978, almost unconsciously mimicking Henry Miles, the cuckolded husband in another Greene novel, The End of the Affair.
?Dear Graham,? wrote Walston, ?I?ve left your letter to the last to answer, because it?s the most difficult. I?ve thought a lot, but I still don?t really know what to say. You should not have remorse. Of course you caused pain. But who can honestly say he has gone through life without causing pain? And you gave joy too. One can?t draw up a balance sheet of pluses and minuses. But you gave Catherine something (I don?t know what) that no one else had given her. It would not be right to say it changed her life: but it developed her into a far more deeply feeling human being than before. Yes, let us meet. Tell us when you?re next in England. Love Harry. PS: I find I have omitted the ostensible purpose of this letter ? to thank you for writing. I do.?
Stephen Quinn, whose 44-year-old Jewish American-born wife, ?e ?Bimberly? Solomon turned Kimberly Fortier turned Kimberly Quinn, is the mother of two children of indeterminate parentage, wouldn?t pretend to be either an intellectual or a man of letters. An Irishman, aged 60, he gets advertisements for Vogue, the glossy fashion magazine. Nor would Blunkett, who cut his political teeth in Labour party politics in Sheffield, appreciate such a letter.
What has puzzled most observers in Britain is not that Kimberly has been sleeping around ? she is known to have to notched up Michael Fortier, her first American investment banker husband, Sandy (now Lord) Leitch, a Labour millionaire businessman, Simon Hoggart, the Guardian columnist, and Blunkett, of course ? but that Quinn has proved so indulgent towards her. Orthodox elders in the Indian and Pakistani communities in Britain have concurred that, faced with a similar provocation, they would have given their wives a sound thrashing, before turning really nasty.
The smear that M.J. Akbar, The Asian Age editor, might have been close to Kimberly probably came from one of Blunkett?s unnamed friends, as though to say: ?She?s such a slag she will go with even an Asian? (so much for Labour?s notions of racial equality).
Quinn, who was brought up in an orphanage in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, has loyal friends who won?t say a word against him. He has spoken of ?forgiveness?, his love for his wife and his resolve to keep his family together. He has rejected an offer of ?200,000 for his ?kiss and tell? (in his case, admittedly, the kissing was mostly done by others), and expressed his total lack of interest in ?biological details? since he wasn?t purchasing Persil.
?William is so completely adorable,? he says of Kimberly?s two-year-old son, who is now generally reckoned to be Blunkett?s. Lorcan, Kimberly?s month-old baby, might just be Quinn?s but he has set his heart against any more DNA tests. The last proved that Lorcan couldn?t be Blunkett?s, as the former home secretary had hoped (hence the leaking of Akbar?s name by his friends as a possible suspect).
This is Quinn?s second marriage, too. He and his first wife, Jane, who has apparently ?been a complete brick from the very beginning?, have three grown up children (as does the divorced Blunkett). When Quinn, at 57, married Kimberly in 2001, he had his vasectomy reversed. While undergoing fertility tests in hospital, Kimberly was also in the middle of her torrid affair with Blunkett, spending time in his rented Derbyshire cottage and even going on holiday to Corfu with the home secretary (on the flight, William balanced on Blunkett?s knee while the air hostesses dispensed drinks to ?Mrs Blunkett?). In summer last year, for whatever reason, Kimberly decided to dump Blunkett after three years and be a good wife.
The British nation cannot figure out whether Quinn is a cuckolded fool or a saint. His view is: ?One should be capable of forgiveness in a marriage?. Certainly, many psychiatrists would agree that the ability to forgive liberates a human being, while simmering resentment and anger prevent a person from moving on. ?She is not the greatest sinner this country has produced,? Quinn has observed, when asked what he thought of his wife?s infidelity. ?It?s not really fair to keep on saying that, ?Oh, my God, it?s terrible.? We must have a sense of humanity, fairness, justice and reasonableness.?
This story is not ended but neither is Stephen Quinn?s marriage. Some are even beginning to wonder whether a child?s father always has to be his biological father.