Sunday, May 08, 2005


A man in America once introduced Cherie Blair to an audience as ‘Britain’s First Lady.’
Obviously he couldn’t tell his Boston tea party from his Gone With The Wind. But Cherie wouldn’t have minded.
As the UK’s real First Lady, the Queen, was over three thousand miles away across the Atlantic Ocean, there’s a fair chance her broad lips even slipped into full letterbox mode.
When she meets the US First Lady, Laura Bush, she probably feels the hat fits.
But Cherie is no First Lady.
For a start she doesn’t even look the part.
With the well-upholstered hips and thighs of a ‘traditionally built’ woman, Cherie, who barrels along in the drunken sailor style of Ariel Sharon, rubbishes good clothes.
Stick a £10,000 designer number on her back and it looks as if it came from George at ASDA.
Instead of letting her long time pal and health and beauty adviser, Carole Caplin, solicit discounts on her behalf, she ought to pay designers for the damage to their reputations when she dons their best frocks.
When she tries to look regal, she looks ill at ease and worried about the impression she is making. With good reason. A desperate housewife would have looked more like royalty than Cherie did when she turned up at London’s Guildhall decked out like a fancy dress version of Marie Antoinette.
Though she’s not the sort of woman who normally arouses sympathy, you almost felt sorry that it was yet another sad try which hadn’t worked for her.
The painful truth is that Cherie, who longs to look glamorous and sexy like Nancy Del’Olio or Carole, hasn’t got the oomph or chutzpah or confidence to carry it off. There’s a lurking insecurity there which damns her best efforts.
She’s also tactless and, despite all the PR help she gets, exhibits the symptoms of chronic foot-in-mouth disease whenever she parts those post-box lips in public.
Her plea in her defence following her flat purchases in Bristol with the aid of Carole’s then boy friend, Australian conman Peter Foster, was a publicity disaster.
While her husband, with the help of TV chef, Jamie Oliver, was promising better school meals for all children, she revealed she had little faith in the possible success of his efforts by telling a school in Birmingham that she would probably give her youngest son, Leo, a lunch box with sandwiches and fruit when he starts at a reputedly very good school.
Last week, in the closing days of the election, her blabbing reached new heights — or depths, depending on your point of view — when she talked to a tabloid about her sex life with ‘five times a night’ Tony.
The woman just doesn’t know how to behave.
Maybe it’s in her genes and, despite her lawyer’s training in manipulating words, she has an inborn talent for turning potential publicity triumph to disaster whenever she opens her mouth.
Her father, actor Tony Booth, whose greatest role was as Alf Garnett’s git son-in-law in the TV series Till Death Us Do Part, was better known for the number of his marriages than his tact.
Like her husband, Cherie adores the fabulously rich and enjoys freeloading at their expense, which the Blair family did last year as holiday guests of multi-millionaire Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — among others.
Cherie was also reported to be making more money for herself than the charity she was supporting on a lecture tour of Australia promoting her book, The Goldfish Bowl, which didn’t sell in the UK. Perhaps because, like her, it’s boring.
Though she appears to have it all – the successful husband, the growing healthy family and a career which can earn her a fat cat salary at the Bar – it doesn’t seem to be enough for her. She cuts a discontented, unsatisfied figure who seems as obsessed with being a celebrity in her own right as any kid who wants to be famous.
Add it all up and it’s not just that Cherie is no First Lady. A woman who talks to a tabloid about her love life isn’t even a decent role model. Copyright: Rebecca Hamilton 2005. All Rights Reserved