True, Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam has been dragged reluctantly into the media circus that’s following the general election, claiming that as a lawyer she can’t play the leaders’ wives game and abandon her clients for the duration of the campaign.
But as for the others – well David Cameron describes wife Samantha as his ‘secret weapon’ while the PM in limbo, Gordon Brown, seems less effusive about his lovely Sarah which is a pity, because as far as labour saving devices go, she’s not doing a bad job given the raw material.
But why should the wives or consorts of political leaders be important to us (for the record consort was the term that Cherie Blair used to justify accompanying hubby Tony on his overseas shindigs, though she prefixed the term with the word ‘official’)?
Certainly neither Samantha nor Sarah share an interest in housing with Cherie who, as the PM’s wife, served as a national role model when she dabbled in buy-to-lets down in Bristol.
Nor are they likely to encourage their husbands to take out innovative future earnings mortgages as did Cherie to buy a luxury townhouse in the West End and then a stately mansion in the country. And even if they wanted to, it would be wishful thinking because the FSA’s Mortgage Market Review has probably brought an end to that sort of thing.
Presumably the wife informs us about the man and the device serves a conduit to show just how ordinary and lovable they are and who knows, over the coming weeks we’ll see them on the TV telling us how they saved up for a deposit on their first home, or how they work out the family budget. “Gordon, my husband, my hero, is quite generous”, says Sarah, though like every one else we’re feeling the pinch and of course the parliamentary expenses thing has changed everything.”
Somehow it’s hard to imagine these wannabe PMs and their wives sitting around the kitchen table allocating so much money for the mortgage, and other sums for fuel, food, clothes and transport but they could do worse than emulate Margaret Thatcher who blessed the world with right-to-buy and truly extended the property owning democracy.
She did the husband and wife thing all in one and liked to give the impression that she ran the economy like she ran her home, as a good housewife.
The PM in limbo got quite close to this interesting metaphor as Chancellor Prudence Brown but then he grew profligate and got married so his persona as Prudence had to be discarded.
One wonders what might have happened if he had stayed single like our last bachelor PM, Ted Heath, or indeed how someone like Heath would get by today without a Cow to wheel out to endorse his suitability for the top job.
It seems that politics has sunk to Hello level journalism and that thanks to all the parties the currency of politics is going the same direction as our pound – due south.