Saturday, June 24, 2006

Belinda Oaten: Why I am letting Mark back into the family home

I had a pretty hair-raising experience this morning, while queuing to pay for diesel.

I spotted the Daily Mail headline: "Belinda Oaten: Why I am letting Mark back into the family home - see pages 8,9,10 & 11."

I am afraid I couldn't resist. I already had the Guardian in my hand, but I scooped up a copy of the Daily Mail and waited there with both papers. Then I thought:

"What am I doing? I haven't bought a copy of the Daily Mail for 20 years. Am I mad?"

Fortunately, as I waited, I was able to scan-read pages 8,9,10 and 11 in thirty seconds (amazing how you can do that with age isn't it? I think it has something to do with having seen it all - or at least most of it - before) and there was a pile of Newbury Weekly Newses by the counter which acted as an emergency escape route. I put the Mail down on top of the Newbury Weekly Newses just before my turn came, causing a misfiling within the shop for which I felt quite guilty - but not entirely guilty as it was the Daily Mail, after all. Let's not get too carried away.

Anyway, the emergency was averted.

I have now read the Mail story in depth via a free copy at Victoria Park café in Newbury.

Obviously, I feel enormous sympathy for Belinda Oaten. The Mail story was very much a human, wife's story. Fine.

I can't help but think that this whole Oaten affair has dragged on quite unnecessarily . One always thinks that the last shoe has dropped and then another one comes dropping along.

The Daily Mail has a circulation of 2 million copies. So, although we bloggers might be absorbed by Three Jobs Bob, Cameron's U turn on Iraq, Brown on Trident etc etc, for multitudes in this country their biggest awareness of the Liberal Democrats this week will come from reading about Belinda Oaten's "eggy bread" in the Daily Mail today.

It is strange, all this. I make no criticism of Belinda Oaten. Indeed, she deserves a medal. She is a very striking and courageous woman. But, thinking back, I don't remember a single word in public coming from Jeremy Thorpe's wife after the Bunnygate business (or whatever it was called). And that also involved lurid details coming out like the "Bunnies" nickname and pillow biting.

Ah well, times change. All people are different.

You can read the Daily mail story on Belinda Oaten here.


  1. I like the picture on the website story. If you look carefully, you can just make out the cartoon-style pound signs in her eyes. Ker-ching!

  2. Good point, James. I should imagine for four pages with a front page photo, the transaction must have been considerable!