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15 May 2008 Edition

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Fifth Column

Westminster or bust

I DON’T want to get too sniffy about the integrity of the electoral process but there’s something just not right about ‘Belfast beauty queen’ and Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett contesting a parliamentary by-election in England to “make Britain feel beautiful again” (and boost her modelling prospects into the bargain, no doubt).
The 26-year-old – a sister of Linfield striker Stephen Garrett – will challenge the daughter of the renowned and late MP, Gwyneth Dunwoody, for the safe Labour seat of Crewe and Nantwich in Cheshire on 22 May.
Gemma Garrett is supposedly representing the Beauties for Britain Party, an organisation whose very name suggests a case for the Equal Opportunities Commission.
I’m not sure if Ms GB is the only member of the Beauties for Britain Party but her Hello-style platform pledges to “help make Westminster as glamorous a place as its fellow European legislatures, where beautiful women abound in the higher echelons of government”.
Glamorous Gemma adds ditzily:
“I may not know a lot about politics yet but I do know a lot about people and how everyone would prefer that Britain looks and feels beautiful instead of dwelling on the ugly and negative side of life.” (Ah, lay off Linfield, Gemma.)
The “busty Belfast blonde” (a newspaper description, not mine), is upfront about her ‘cor’ principles (that one is mine – sorry):
“I think that people should be proud of Britain and proud of themselves, especially the beauties that Britain has produced over the years.” The plain people of Britain, however, Miss Great Britain is obviously not so proud of. And as for the ugly ones, well...
Announcing that she looks forward to meeting the voters and “showing them the power of beauty” (that should perk the interest of the railwaymen of Crewe), Gemma simpers:
“I want British politicians to be sexy, not sleazy, and to show that they really care about women.”
Ahhh, isn’t she sweet? No.
The beauty mask slips when it’s revealed that the vacuous vamp’s ‘political advisor’ is Robert de Keyser, chair of the Miss Great Britain contest, and the whole thing is little more than a thinly-disguised publicity gimmick for the Miss Great Britain racket.

Liz O’Donnell’s understatement

THE item above notwithstanding, I am all in favour of beautiful people getting involved in politics, although good looks aren’t everything, as the former siren of the Progressive Democrats, Liz O’Donnell, can testify.
Liz being out of the Dáil meant no more interviews in her undies, she wrote in the Sunday Tribune after she lost her seat.
Liz has now sought to dampen the ardent speculation of political voyeurs by explaining that she didn’t mean to say “underwear” in her post-ousting outing.
“Oh, God! It was a way of just saying that I would not miss doing early-morning interviews half-dressed,” Liz sighed, trying to clear up any confusion by suggesting that “half-dressed” in the morning isn’t necessarily being in your underwear. “I should have said pyjamas.” Ah, yes, Liz, but images of you in your pyjamas and Michael McDowell in his jim-jams are two totally different things.


Beauties and the Beast

ITALIAN ageing playboy, billionaire media mogul and new prime minister, the right-wing Silvio ‘Sleazy’ Berlsuconi (71), has livened up his Cabinet table with a bevy of beauties, appointing four glamorous women to important posts.
One of them is a former topless model and beauty queen, Mara Carfagna (33). Mara came sixth in the 1997 Miss Italy contest. She has also posed topless and semi-naked for photo-shoots but has always underlined her family values, she says. She’s Italy’s Equal Opportunities Minister. Aside from her good looks, she has a law degree and is an accomplished swimmer, dancer and pianist.
The other ‘Berlusconi Babes’ are Stefania Prestigiacomo (Environment), Maria Stella Gelmini (Education) and Giorgia Meloni (Youth).

Feudal attitude

WHEN the slick-haired Silvio made the mistake last year of saying near a live microphone at an awards dinner with young Mara that if he wasn’t already wed he’d gladly “marry her like a shot”, his wife wasn’t very impressed. Mrs Berlusconi wrote a letter to a national newspaper insisting that her husband apologise for embarrassing her. And he did.
But that hasn’t totally dampened his ardour. At another public event, when they were both in his former party, he told her:
“Dear Mara, I am obliged to point out to you the rule that applies inside Forza Italia, the rule of ius primae noctis,” which is the medieval right of a feudal lord to sleep with the bride of one of his subjects on the first night of her marriage. “You know I like women of easy morals.” Yeucch!

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