Matt Hancock's gloss may fade for Gina Coladangelo… but Martha's already outshining them
WHEN married Tory minister David Mellor got caught with his trousers down in 1992, there followed an excruciating “nothing to see here” photocall with his wife at the gate of their country home.
Worse, he’d roped in his two young sons and parents-in-law to try to deflect from his extra-marital indiscretion.
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Fast-forward nearly 30 years and one imagines that Health Secretary Matt Hancock wouldn’t have dared suggest such a lame stunt to his flame-haired wife Martha who, by all accounts, doesn’t take crap from anyone.
Least of all the husband whose reckless behaviour has thrown a hand grenade right in to the heart of their family life.
So, there have been no cutesy photocalls at the garden gate for her. Nor has she escaped to a remote bolthole to batten down the hatches and weather the storm.
Instead, day after day she has clamped on a pair of sunglasses and, head held high, strolled through the inevitable media maelstrom that follows any public sex scandal.
A dog walk one day. A stroll with her mother the next. Business as usual. Quite right too. After all, she has done nothing wrong.
Stripped of power
In fact, according to friends, she considered their marriage to be “happy and stable” until her husband of 15 years returned home on Thursday night to inform her otherwise.
A family friend described it as a bombshell, and many would want to get under the duvet and stay there. But Martha is clearly made of stern stuff.
There is no right or wrong way to react when faced with a partner’s infidelity, but her refusal to hide away in the face of the fallout is impressive as a symbol of quiet determination amid the chaos caused by her husband’s hypocrisy.
Meanwhile, “friends” of Matt Hancock (well, what’s left of them) say his relationship with Gina Coladangelo is a “love match” and they are thinking of moving in together.
Hmmm. Let’s see how that pans out, shall we? After all, many a mistress has balked at the sight of her “prize” arriving on the doorstep with his suitcases and declaring: “Honey, I’m here for ever.”
Oh to be a CCTV camera on the ceiling above their breakfast table as they potentially embark on their new life together without the aphrodisiac of subterfuge.
Stripped of his power and with the nation no longer hanging on his every word, will backbencher Matt’s gloss rapidly wear off for the university friend who didn’t seem so enamoured by him when they first met all those years ago?
Or, once life’s inevitable mundanities creep in — such as whose turn it is to cook dinner/water the garden/put the bins out — will that seemingly greener grass suddenly turn parched and brittle?
Watch this space. But I hope that the mighty Martha will go from strength to strength and find someone who appreciates her.
After all, she deserves so much better.
A grim legacy of the virus
LAST week, I was about to walk into a building with a small barrier outside when a man in a hi-vis jacket stepped forward to block my path.
“You have to walk on the other side of the barrier,” he said.
There were no signs saying “exit” or “entrance”, both ways led to the same door and there wasn’t another soul around.
He was bristling with self-importance, so I gave him his moment and did as I was told.
But afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about this petty act of officialdom and what it means for the future.
“Covid compliance”, it seems, has become an industry.
The firms making millions from PPE. The covid marshals making sure we don’t sit/walk in the wrong place.
The secret army employed to check travellers are adhering to quarantine. The scientists who suddenly find their every utterance reported. And finally, the politicians keen not to relinquish the “do this but don’t do that” power over us.
The end of “restric- tions” is imminent but one suspects the dead hand of “Covid compliance” will take a little longer to remove.
As US philosopher Eric Hoffer once said: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
Under-40s jab nightmare
MILLIONS of under-40s may miss out on summer holidays abroad because they won’t have had their second Covid jab in time.
As for the rest of us who can go, at least there’s finally one benefit to getting older.
See it, don't say it
TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps has promised “fewer annoying and repetitious recorded announcements” on trains.
On a recent Manchester to London train, passengers were bombarded with 17 automated messages such as “See it, say it, sorted” (nope, me neither) as well as live announcements telling them not to walk in the aisle unnecessarily, as if we’re all marching up and down just for the hell of it.
Sigh. For future reference, all we need to know is whether the bar’s open and what the next stop is.
Hancock security review
FOLLOWING the madness of Hancock’s Half Hour (or whatever) a security review will now “sweep” ministerial offices to check for any hidden cameras.
In this case, no sweeping was needed. They just had to look up.
It's my whine
DAD Peter Jones is reeling after his daughters unknowingly used his prized £2,500 bottle of red wine to make sangria.
The Bloke also has a couple of bottles of “nice stuff”, as he calls it.
We know this because they have notes taped to the front, saying: “Touch this and I’ll kill you.”
TRAINSPOTTING star Johnny Lee Miller is to portray Sir John Major in the fifth series of The Crown.
Whatever next . . . Begbie as Michael Portillo, above?
Dani and Jack had right idea
IF you want to win Love Island, go wild, play dirty and have sex on TV.
That – in a nutshell – is the advice of former contestant Megan Barton-Hanson who did all of the above and, er, didn’t win the 2018 series.
In fact, that particular accolade went to Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham, who didn’t go wild, play dirty or have sex on TV.
A life lesson for us all, perhaps?
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