For the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday, this picking over of the inevitably messy aftermath is made easier, as the paper can call on the services of singularly unappealing self-promotion specialist Sarah “Vain” Vine, who knows what it’s like being married to a Government minister - because her husband is Michael “Oiky” Gove.
So it is no surprise that Ms Vine’s column in today’s MoS discusses l’Affair ‘Ancoque. What is surprising, not to mention eyebrow-raising, is the headline chosen for the piece: “The problem with the wife who's been with you for ever is that she knows you're not the Master of the Universe you purport to be”. Equally surprising is that the first couple she discusses are Young Dave and wife Samantha - with whom Ms Vine fell out big time over Brexit.
But the message she wants us all to take from the Camerons’ marriage is clear. “It didn’t matter how powerful he was … he always made space for her … Rather like the Duchess of Cambridge is to Prince William, she was his barometer, his weather vane, his anchor … Every time he seemed in danger of drifting away on a cloud of self-importance … she would bring him back down to earth, and not always gently”. There was more.
Ms Vine claims that Young Dave was always going to leave Downing Street sooner rather than later, that Samantha and the children were more important to him. From there, she segues effortlessly into “I’ve been thinking about the nature of political marriages. And how rarely, if ever, they manage to thrive under the pressures of public life”. Really? Do go on.
Not mentioned in his wife's column. At all
She goes on to tell of “the eternal lot of the political spouse: keeping the home fires burning so the ‘Big I Am’ can do more important stuff … The old ‘behind every great man there’s a woman drowning in dirty laundry’ is a cliche. But it’s true. It is very hard to do these high-level, high-pressure, high-stakes jobs unless you have someone prepared to take up the reins in every other department of your life”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?
“But the problem is that inevitably sets you on different tracks. You become so entrenched in your respective roles that you begin to drift apart”. Who can she be talking about? “The problem with the wife who has known you since way before you were king of the world is that she sees through your facade. She knows your fears and your insecurities. She knows that, deep down inside, you are not the Master of the Universe you purport to be. And some people don’t like to be reminded of that”. Ah, that’s who she’s talking about.
There is one name that is not being mentioned here, one that Ms Vine, back in the day, had no problem in mentioning, ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam. That name is Michael Gove. And in this article, the human manifestation of Elmer Fudd is nowhere to be seen. Which is why the impression is given that Ms Vine is not just talking about the departing Health Secretary, but sending a very pointed message to “Oiky”.
Why she might feel the need to do that is not known. But I suspect it may be before long.
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