Spare us the honeymoon night tales, Mr Cameron

Spare us the honeymoon night tales, Mr Cameron

Until yesterday, I can’t say I’d ever read Now magazine and had certainly never bought a copy, which is hardly surprising as it’s a celebrity gossip magazine aimed at young women.

I don’t suppose it forms part of David Cameron’s reading, either, but that didn’t stop him from confiding intimate details of his marriage to one of its writers for a feature in the latest issue.

The interview took place in Afghanistan, when the Prime Minister made a pre-Christmas visit to troops there, but you won’t find much about our military strategy or geopolitics in the piece.

TMI: The PM and his wife Samantha look effortlessly happy in public, there is no need for him to divulge intimate details to prove the strength of his marriage

TMI: The PM and his wife Samantha look effortlessly happy in public, there is no need for him to divulge intimate details to prove the strength of his marriage

Instead, asked what the most memorable 24 hours in his life were, he replied with an answer tailor-made to appeal to Now’s readers: ‘Probably getting married and the first night of my honeymoon. I can still remember it pretty much minute by minute . . .’

We should never forget that before he became an MP, Cameron was a marketing and public relations executive for Carlton TV, noted for his skill at dealing with the media.

Would he have made the same reply had he been asked about his most memorable 24 hours by a lifestyle magazine aimed at 30 to 50-year-old women I doubt it, for the simple reason that women in that age group are far more likely to be interested in children, education and the NHS than wedding days and honeymoons.

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When the startled interviewer told him that his alleged ‘minute by minute’ recollection of his honeymoon night was ‘too much information’, he quickly amended it to a rather more believable ‘hour by hour’, before going on to talk about the fact that he is a romantic and that he and his wife Samantha try to have a ‘date night’ once a week, often at a favourite Italian restaurant in Kensington.

It was an unnecessary revelation: unlike Tony Blair, Cameron doesn’t have to try too hard to persuade us that his marriage is genuinely happy.

Nevertheless, like Blair, he seems to believe that by referring to his virility, we’ll somehow be convinced that he’s a man of action, not just in the bedroom, but in politics, too.

Despite Blair’s infamous comment, in an interview just before (surprise!) the 2005 election, that he was a ‘five times a night’ man, he and Cherie have never managed to look as effortlessly contented as Cameron and Samantha do.

Cherie colluded with her husband’s desire to appear powerfully sexual and masculine. In her autobiography, Speaking For Myself, she explained that the reason she became unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 45 was that she was too embarrassed to pack her contraceptives for a trip to Balmoral as protocol dictates that the staff there unpack for visitors.

It was ‘bitterly cold’, she relates, and ‘Tony’s really strong body was warm’. I suppose it was too much to hope that she’d simply pop the contraceptives into her handbag

Boasting, if only by implication, about your sex life is a distasteful, dangerous and patronising game to play. Do we really need to hear, for example, that the Speaker’s wife, Sally Bercow, took her husband away for a ‘dirty weekend’

Awkward: The Blair's went to some length to stress how strong and, ahem, active their married life was, but convinced few

Awkward: The Blair's went to some length to stress how strong and, ahem, active their married life was, but convinced few

Of course we’re interested when we’re given a little glimpse into the personal lives of well-known people — but that doesn’t mean we’ll like them better or think they should run the country. Yet politicians seem obsessed with parading the minutiae of their home lives.

In the past three months alone, we’ve had Ed Miliband posing at home with his wife and small children, and David Cameron inviting a photographer to take snaps of him and Samantha sitting with their children at the breakfast table in their stylishly redecorated Downing Street kitchen.

As a voter, I’m afraid this kind of domestic detail leaves me cold.

Our Prime Minister would do well to remember that we want a different kind of revelation from our politicians. Such as how to steer us through a recession, improve the care of our elderly and find jobs for a lost generation.

Elegant: Helen Mirren arrives at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards

Elegant: Helen Mirren arrives at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards

How DOES Helen still look so sensational

Helen Mirren looked stunning at the Golden Globe awards earlier this week.

I
loved her dress (lesson: for the over-50s, no shade’s as flattering for
evening as midnight blue), but I’m afraid not even the Mail’s
inestim-able Liz Jones can completely convince me Dame Helen’s had no
‘work’ done.

Liz
says she’s looked at her face in bright LA sunshine and sees no
evidence of cosmetic surgery. But I look at the astonishingly taut
jawline of a woman who is 66 and see no evidence that she hasn’t . . .
either way, she looks fantastic.

Nancy Dell'olio has broken up with
her toyboy pastry chef, James Petrie, and told ‘friends’ she still has
strong feelings for her former beau Trevor Nunn. Be afraid, Trevor — be
very afraid!

I fear the BBC’s Sherlock is veering dangerously into mad Doctor Who territory — from where Holmes writer Steven Moffat came. Until five minutes before the end of the second series on Sunday night, I’d have said it was the best programme on TV, but the final minutes were needlessly over-complicated and frankly annoying. Would Moriarty really have killed himself And why make Sherlock fake his own death More brilliant deduction and less unnecessary convolution in series three, please.


Kirsty Young gives solid advice on keeping any marriage alive

Kirsty Young gives solid advice on keeping any marriage alive

Landing on her feet

Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young says her advice for a happy marriage is never to let your husband see you in pop socks, as even the most beautiful woman in the world looks terrible in them. This is true.

And, as she’s married to a man who’s just made an estimated 20 million from selling half of his stake in the Soho House club empire, I’d say ditching the pop socks is a very small price to pay.

MY NEW Year present from the Inland Revenue was a demand for extra tax due to an error that was theirs, not mine. But, as the tax inspector I spoke to explained, the responsibility to check that your tax code is correct lies with us, the taxpayers, not them.

What puzzles me is this: If they can spot I owe more money, why can’t they do the same to Tony Blair — who pays tax of less than 3 per cent on an income of 12 million a year

Miserable way to save a few pounds

A survey by the Institute of Economic Affairs reveals that money does make us happy, after all. Perhaps — but only if you’ve got the personality to enjoy it. If all you can do is hoard it away and worry constantly about spending it, life will still seem dreary and grey.

Thrifty Princess Anne: But a smile would surely be worth a couple of her many pounds

Thrifty Princess Anne: But a smile would surely be worth a couple of her many pounds

Princess Anne — who’s surely never had to worry about money in her life — seems to fall into the latter category. She recently ordered her staff to change her room at a Scottish hotel from the most expensive, with a view of the sea, to one of the cheapest, with a view of the car park — on the grounds that she was paying for it herself and she and her husband were arriving late and had to leave early.

I’m sure this is all very commendable — she saved herself 40 — but it did make my heart sink. Enjoyment, I suspect, does not come high on Anne’s list of priorities. I don’t imagine she’s much given to saying, ‘What the hell, let’s order a bottle of champagne,’ or, ‘Surprise!’ any more than she could ever bring herself to say: ‘We’ve got to leave early, darling, but let’s have breakfast in bed so we can savour that view.’

I’m all for the Queen having a yacht — it’s an outrage that the old one was ever taken away — and I’ve no doubt at all that private investors will easily raise the 80 million needed for a new one. But surely they can come up with a better name for it than FSP21 (which, apparently, stands for Future Ship Project 21st century). It doesn’t even need to be imaginative: Britannia 2 would suffice.

French food for thought

An American woman married to an Englishman, but living in Paris, has written a book explaining why French children are so much better behaved than our own.

Apparently it’s because French mothers make their children say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, have no trouble telling them ‘no’, give them the same food as everyone else from the age of about four months and let them have only one snack a day (after school).

Tres bon: French children are often expected to sit with adults at the same table, eating the same food, and conducting themselves in a well behaved manner

Tres bien: French children are often expected to sit with adults at the same table, eating the same food, and conducting themselves in a well behaved manner

In other words, they bring up their children exactly as we used to, until the American obsession with indulging a child’s every whim spread to Britain.

And now — quelle horreur! — it’s time to admit that, on the subject of bringing up children at least, the French have actually got something right.

For years, Fergie’s been so unpopular that people would probably have paid for her to be extradited to almost anywhere. But the TV documentary she made highlighting the plight of Turkish orphans was one of the few recorded instances of her doing something truly worthwhile.

And now that the Turks actually want to take the daft Duchess off our hands and bring her to court, we should defend her to the hilt.

I tried the sludge shade of nail varnish (otherwise known as Particuliere), but it made my hands look cadaverous. I baulked at green, yellow and black. So, as far as I’m concerned, the best news this year is that the hot new Chanel nail varnish shade for spring is truly radical: pale pink.

My New Year present from the Inland Revenue was a demand for extra tax due to an error that was theirs, not mine. But, as the tax inspector I spoke to explained, the responsibility to check that your tax code is correct lies with us, the taxpayers, not them.

What puzzles me is this: If they can spot I owe more money, why can’t they do the same to Tony Blair — who pays tax of less than 3 per cent on an income of 12 million a year