THE LOVELY SARAH AND THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS

APART from the sight of Peter – sorry, Lord – Mandelson being lauded and feted by the very people who’ve previously hated his guts but who suddenly see him as their only hope of staying aboard the gravy train, the most disturbing image of the week must surely be Sarah Brown at the Labour conference, extolling the virtues of her beloved husband, our prime minister. Is it me? Or do others find it distasteful and manipulative too? What on earth was it about? “I love him: why can’t you?” was the message. But why? Do doctors bring their wives to the surgery to assure the patients they’re in good hands? Or judges’ wives give a little homily before the trial, trumpeting their husbands’ qualities of fairness and compassion? What have wives got to do with any of this? I just don’t get it. She’s an attractive (she wouldn’t have been rolled out otherwise, that’s for sure), intelligent woman who once had a career of her own but whose role now is almost entirely ornamental: kissing G20 wags, escorting them to fashion shows and holding Gordon’s hand, metaphorically and literally.

Meanwhile – on the same day, I think – a report (www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/sep/29/working-mothers-child-health) tells us that behind every obese, lager-swilling, out-of-control ASBO-ed yob there is, wouldn’t you know it, a working mother. (Working fathers good: working mothers bad. How neat is that?) Which, presumably, is why the lovely Sarah has given up her career to look after her boys. Except she hasn’t. She’s found a new one – as a professional wife who knows her limitations and her place. What a great role model for our daughters and granddaughters.

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