Anorak News | Crewel Luck

Crewel Luck

by | 26th, October 2006

“THE role of the modern Member of Parliament has changed a great deal in recent years,” says Greg Barker, MP for Bexhill and Battle, on his website.

He goes on to say that “I am also very active locally” and invites locals to “get in touch”.

The sticky fingers of adolescence are never far from UK politics, and, as the Mail reports on its front page, Mr Barker has left his wife of 14 years for a decorator.

Inside the paper, the decorator has been elevated to the status of “interior designer”. Perhaps losing her man to a decorator is too hard for Celeste Barker, Barker’s wife and mother to their three children? An interior designer is much more the ticket. Better still if Celeste could lose Barker to a leading light in the British aubusson movement.

But whatever the profession of the mistress, Celeste, described by one source as “your typical, loyal Conservative wife”, will surely find it hard to accept that she has been left for a man.

“She is completely devastated,” says the source. “It came completely out of the blue. Nobody had any idea that Barker was gay.”

Nobody? We can think of at least two people who had a pretty fair idea that the honourable member had gone the gay way.

And the Mail catches up with one of them, namely Barker. He says that he remains on “good terms” with his wife. “It’s a private matter. We separated in July, we are on very good terms.”

So that’s that. Barker is right, it is a private matter. What should we care that an MP is gay? There are many gay MPs, doubtless more than we can name here.

But not everyone is as enlightened. And over in the Mirror (“TOP TORY DUMPS WIFE FOR MAN”), the paper has a few words with Barker’s mother-in-law.

Beneath a picture of Greg at his London flat, where he is now staying, Georgina Harrison tells us what she thinks of the Shadow Environment Minister.

“Of course,” says she, “it’s not a shock. It’s sad – but these days it’s not really unusual any more. It’s modern life, isn’t it? Men seem to think they can get away with it now.”

And..? And that’s it. No mention of a “moment of madness”, no apology for “errors of judgement in personal behaviour”, no dutiful wife standing by her man at the gate to the family home.

The mother-in-law is right, things have changed. We are no longer treated to flesh-crawling shots of the husband and wife making up for the cameras.

It’s a private matter between husband, wife and interior designer. It’s very old fashioned…

Posted: 26th, October 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink