PLATELL’S PEOPLE: If Boris Johnson is so weak he lets Carrie steer policy, blame him – not her
When Tory grandee Lord Frost told the PM to sack all the ‘green fanatics and pro-woke crowd’ in No 10 who influence his decisions, it made me wince. I thought he was taking a swipe at Carrie Johnson.
Perhaps I was wrong, but I hate the way the old male brigade often blame the partners of powerful men for their ills, portraying them as Lady Macbeths. I had my fair share of it while working for William Hague when he was leader of the Opposition.
A Times front page carried a life-sized picture of my red lips (no face) with the screaming headline, as I recall: ‘Is this the most useless woman in politics today?’
There’s also the suggestion Carrie is behind Boris’s apparent obsession with green causes and Net Zero which is causing energy bills to soar. But is it right to blame Carrie for Boris’s plight?
I wasn’t devising Tory policy, I was a mere spin doctor. Yet, like Carrie, I was an easy target. The author of The Times’s 2,000-word hatchet job on me, one Michael Gove, who was then a journalist, has since apologised.
Of course, I cannot deny there’s a thread running through many of the Prime Minister’s current woes that seems to lead back to Carrie.
First there was Wallpaper-gate, then the hiring and tearful resignation of her friend Allegra Stratton as Boris’s spokeswoman — and she produced that controversial birthday cake for him.
Her enmity with Dominic Cummings reportedly led to his removal — which in turn resulted in his vindictive leaks that now seriously endanger Johnson’s premiership.
There’s also the suggestion Carrie is behind Boris’s apparent obsession with green causes and Net Zero which is causing energy bills to soar.
But is it right to blame Carrie for Boris’s plight? Not really in my book. Those who know her say she is clever, kind and lots of fun.
When Tory grandee Lord Frost told the PM to sack all the ‘green fanatics and pro-woke crowd’ in No 10 who influence his decisions, it made me wince. I thought he was taking a swipe at Carrie Johnson. Perhaps I was wrong, but I hate the way the old male brigade often blame the partners of powerful men for their ills, portraying them as Lady Macbeths
In any good marriage, wives influence their husbands and make them better men. Sarah Brown and Samantha Cameron certainly did.
But does that mean Carrie is influencing policy? Well, if she were to the extent her critics suggest, it should surely be Boris who gets the flak, not her. If he does his wife’s bidding and can’t make his own decisions, he’s not fit for any position in government, let alone PM.
If Carrie’s sin is that she makes her husband watch an Attenborough documentary on melting icecaps and the perils facing polar bears, so be it.
It will hardly influence his approach to the impending disaster in the Ukraine.
Among all the loving tributes to the King of Comedy Barry Cryer this week, perhaps the one that will give most succour to his family is from his heartbroken friend James Hogg: ‘He was even kinder than he was funny, and that’s saying something.’
Will Brad ever be free to enjoy his new love?
Rumours swirling that Brad Pitt has found happiness with the Swedish pop star Lykke Li must make him wonder if he will ever be a free man. His marriage to Angelina Jolie lasted five years, they’ve spent six divorcing, and they’re still wrangling over custody of their six children. At this rate the kids will all be married before their parents end this bitter split.
The Royal Veterinary Society warns that half of our moggies are obese and staring at an early death. If you can’t feel their ribs when you stroke them or see their waistline, it’s time for drastic dieting. I should chide my chunky moggie Ted, who has never had a waistline — he can’t stop staring at his jumbo Felix Goody Bag.
Cruel trolls fat-shamed an 11-year-old boy after he was pictured on Facebook in his rugby kit. Oakdale RFC in South Wales hit back saying Alfie Pugsley was a ‘key member of our team’. Surely he was doing the very thing that helps anyone lose weight — exercising.
Game Of Thrones star Peter Dinklage is incandescent over Disney remaking Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, ‘that f***ing backward story of seven dwarfs living in a cave’. Movies should not portray outdated dwarfism tropes but represent people like him, he fumed. Am guessing that a remake would be called Snow White And The Seven Multi-millionaire Actors. All called Grumpy.
Is the PM channelling his inner Lady T, bullishly leading the charge against Putin’s threat to the Ukraine? In 1982, Thatcher was behind in the polls with MPs plotting to topple her. She got into a tank, recaptured the Falklands and, a year later, won a landslide victory and became the Iron Lady.
Visitors to Barnard Castle are up 20 per cent since Dominic Cummings drove there to ‘check his eyesight’ during the first lockdown. How long before Specsavers set up a shop in the castle grounds?
Leadership hopeful Liz Truss justifies her £500,000 flight to Australia on a private Government plane on the grounds it was her right as Foreign Secretary and she needed to have meetings with her team. Given the cost of a First Class ticket to Sydney is £5,637, to justify that she’d have to have had nearly 100 staff on board. A First Class error, Liz.
There are no winners
It won’t just be Prince Andrew’s character on trial if he gets a jury hearing in his sex-assault case — but also that of his accuser Virginia Giuffre.
Former Epstein sex slave Carolyn Andriano claims it was Giuffre who procured her as a 13-year-old, adding that Virginia ‘trafficked me into a world of spiralling downward slopes’. Whatever the outcome, if these sordid details are ultimately aired in court, Virginia Giuffre will not emerge with her reputation intact.
A classy piece of advice
Julian Fellowes’s new drama The Gilded Age is met with rapturous reviews here, while the New York Times derides it as a ‘Dime-store Downton’, a ‘muddled and slapdash portrait’ of the class divide between old and new money in 1882 New York, ‘that consistently dips into caricature’.
Sadly, I agree —despite Louisa Jacobson’s performance as Marian Brook (right) outshining the script. But at least Baron Fellowes of West Stafford can always heed the advice of his magnificent Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess of Grantham: ‘Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s so middle class.’
Not only does she admit to ‘a little Botox’ twice a year, Shirley Ballas, 61, says she’s also open to having a facelift. ‘I’ll go and see the guy who did my boobs [removing her implants] and if I do it, I’ll be transparent about it.’ Hurrah, at last a celebrity who doesn’t pretend her ageless skin is down to a pot of Nivea face cream and good genes.
Postponing concerts in Dallas after contracting Covid, Elton John insists the show will go on once he’s well but this will be his final tour so he can spend more time with his two sons. ‘I’ve had enough travelling, I’ve had enough applause,’ he says.
A man with an ego the size of Texas putting away his platform shoes? Sounds like Crocodile Crock to me.
When I called HMRC to pay my tax bill, a recording warned that abuse of their staff on grounds of ‘race, religion, disability, gender or age’ would not be tolerated.
Which made me ponder, while waiting in the queue, how I’d know over the phone what race or religion the person was, or their gender. And what if they were transitioning and I used the wrong pronoun? I needn’t have worried. After 45 minutes waiting for he/she/them, I hung up.
Neil Young told Spotify it was him or their anti-vax blogger Joe Rogan. It chose Rogan and his 11 million followers. Shame, Neil could have made a fortune selling his hit The Needle And The Damage Done as Rogan’s theme tune.
For his Valentine’s Day menu, Heston Blumenthal is offering truffle and mushroom parfait, veal sweetbreads with smoked eel, duck, and smoked walnut mousse with poached pear and cream for a mere £749. No lovers will feel frisky after that lot.
The achingly woke Benedict Cumberbatch suggests parents could prevent their sons growing up into ‘sexually predatory men’ by buying them a doll’s house.
Not sure how that would work as my brother Michael tried to set fire to mine as a kid. And I preferred playing with his Action Man doll to my Barbie. Which probably explains a lot — about me.
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