Mel B, pictured outside 10 Downing Street, apparently talked to the PM’s team about helping abused women
Excuse me. Is that former Spice Girl Mel B posing in front of No 10 as the new champion of abused women?
Apparently, this week she ‘talked’ to the Prime Minister’s team about how the Government could be doing more to help women who are trapped in abusive relationships and cannot afford to leave.
In reality, it seems, she handed in a petition on behalf of Women’s Aid and made sure to have lots of photographs taken, including one with the ghost writer of her memoir.
One cannot be too churlish. Well done to Melanie Brown for supporting such an important cause — it is certainly one of the better things she has done in her life. Yet it does have the occasional self-serving, even ridiculous, element.
I mean, what does Mel B — and her sordid, extravagant and wasteful existence — have in common with ordinary women who are poor and abused?
She has claimed that ex-husband Stephen Belafonte controlled her money, beat her up and forced her into making sex tapes and having threesomes during their ten-year marriage. Yet several involved witnesses claimed that she was an enthusiastic participant in the sex games. She was no slouch at spending money either — and why not? She had earned it, after all.
Certainly, Belafonte has a history of violence against women and is such a ghastly character he might as well have ‘BAD LOT’ tattooed across his forehead. But can she really blame her marriage collapse entirely on him?
The divorce that ensued lasted more than eight bitter months, as both sides battled over her £40 million fortune.
In the end, as the principal earner, she was furious about having to pay his legal bills plus £12,000 a month for three years as part of the settlement. Yet if a husband had to pay such sums to a wife, no one would have batted an eyelid. In fact, it would be seen as a feminist triumph.
Mel B said that, at her lowest point, she ‘had no money to buy Christmas presents, so I had help from my best friend who bought all the Christmas dinner for me and bought all the kids’ presents and stuff’.
When you think of those women who are truly trapped in abusive relationships, who really don’t have money or rich friends to pitch in when times are tight, well, it is such humbug. After all, Mel B is about to go on a Spice Girls reunion tour and make millions. She’s not bunking up in a shelter with no money and no home to call her own.
Yet here she is propounding the ideology that women are the weaker sex and portraying herself as the hapless victim du jour. Not only is that hard to swallow, it also plugs in to the currently fashionable narrative that the mere fact of being female confers a kryptonite shield of innocence.
At a Women’s Aid fundraising event on Wednesday night, Mel B was photographed with David Challen. He is the son of Sally Challen, who was jailed in 2011 for murdering her husband, Richard, with a hammer.
David has been campaigning for his mother’s release for years, on the grounds that she was a victim of emotional abuse during the marriage.
Now that coercive control — a form of emotional abuse — is recognised as a crime, Sally Challen has won the right to a retrial. And Mel B has hitched herself to Challen’s cause, which means that Challen and other abused wives have her as a champion.
There was Mel at Downing Street, posing in her marvellous designer frock (left) — did I see a Chanel handbag peeking out? — with her lovely face reportedly altered by expensive procedures. No money to buy Christmas presents! How she has suffered!
The lure of celebrity and the accompanying coverage that it brings must be overwhelming for organisations such as Women’s Aid, but surely there are better patrons than Mel B?
Yes, she has much to be proud of, but I still see her as a girl-power fraud; a woman who always portrayed herself as independent, smart and tough — until it suited her not to. Is she the kind of role model they really want?
She will be writing messages on bananas next, mark my words.
The Prince of psycho-babble
Listen up people! Be braver, be stronger, be kind to each other — change your thoughts and change the world.
So says Prince Harry, who has taken a sudsy bath in eternal wisdom bubbles, been through the Meghan mangle and come out the other end spouting Californian yoga-speak and thinking that he is some kind of new age messiah. And we all know he is not the messiah, he is just a very naughty boy.
Until his laughable speech at the WE Movement this week, it had been difficult to gauge the true extent of his wife’s influence on Harry’s thinking, his drinking, his every royal blinking.
Certainly, he has lost weight and stopped smoking. He doesn’t drink much — or he doesn’t drink as much, but who could? There are rumours that he has even stopped shooting game, a formerly much loved pastime, because it upsets the missus.
Elsewhere, he wears open necked shirts and suede desert boots to official occasions and has gone all touchy feely, even though he often storms around looking strained and furious, as if an urgent trip to the bathroom is required.
Prince Harry is pictured at London’s Wembley Arena this week. He has lost weight and stopped smoking, does not drink as much and is rumoured to have stopped shooting game
Most noticeable of all, he has eschewed the services of the canny royal speechwriters he has used to good effect over the years. This week he left behind the traditional and squirearchal for the full blast Markle, embracing the kind of pseudo-profoundo new age blather that goes down a storm in Malibu juice bars.
Oh lordy, how the scales have fallen from our eyes. Now we can see that dopey Harry was just an empty royal cipher all along, one into which Meghan has poured all her fresh-pressed, dreamweaver jabber — and he has swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
Values. Change-makers. Raindrops. Your true north. Jupiter aligned with Mars. Love will steer the stars. Please make it stop.
The result is awful to behold, like The Beatles going through their Maharishi phase. The question is, what next?
Will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex really raise their child gender free, make a pilgrimage to Burning Man, and move to a commune in Brighton? If Prince Harry really believed in all this nonsense, he would give up his titles, donate his fortune and — at the very least — insist that commoners did not bow or curtsey in his presence. Don’t hold your breath.
The thigh’s the limit, Cinders!
Hang on to your loin cloths and strategically positioned pot plants. One of the world’s greatest supermodels is posing a question about nudity.
‘At what age is being naked not beautiful any more?’ wonders Cindy Crawford (above), as she poses nude at the age of 53.
‘At what age is being naked not beautiful any more?’ wonders Cindy Crawford (pictured above), as she poses nude at the age of 53
To be honest, Cinders, I think for a great number of us in the civilian population the answer is somewhere around six months old.
Yet Cindy feels there is no sell-by date on her looks — and she is right. With the right flattering filter and a kind photographer, she could probably carry on until 86 at least. ‘If we take care of ourselves, why not?’ she says.
Begum blame game goes on
The Shamima Begum blame game continues. The jihadi bride has said people should ‘have sympathy’ for her because basically nothing was her fault.
Then her lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, blamed her bloodthirsty choices on a ‘litany of failures’ by Tower Hamlets Council, the Metropolitan Police and her school, Bethnal Green Academy.
He also said that it was ‘almost inconceivable’ that no agency had been investigated or held to account over the schoolgirl’s departure for Syria in 2015. Anyone else?
Shamima Begum is. pictured in a camp in Kurdish Syria. Her father, Ahmed Ali, has called for immigration authorities to be investigated for allowing his daughter to travel to Turkey
Yes. Apparently the Met Police’s counter-terrorism department’s ‘inadequate’ handling of her case was one of the key reasons she was ‘pushed’ to join her friend in Syria.
Now her father, Ahmed Ali, has joined in, calling for immigration authorities to be investigated for allowing his darling daughter to travel to Turkey on someone else’s passport in the first place.
What about his role? Couldn’t he and Shamima’s mother have done more to instil decent values in their daughter and teach her the difference between right and wrong? That is a question he doesn’t answer. Meanwhile, Shamima would still be in the caliphate raising warriors, had her side not been defeated.
Come fly with me, lipstick and mascara!
Virgin Atlantic has said it is fine for female flight attendants to stop wearing cosmetics, and Air New Zealand is following suit. No doubt other airlines will do so, too.
Air travel is so dreary these days, an ungroomed female attendant pushing a breakfast trolley down the aisle would be no surprise. However, it would be a shame. If I want to see a pasty faced hag with wild hair in the morning, I’ll look in the mirror.
Virgin Atlantic has said it is fine for female flight attendants (stock photo) to stop wearing cosmetics, and Air New Zealand is following suit
No female flight attendant should be ‘forced’ to put on make-up and keep her hair tidy. But if you are face to face with the public as part of your job, shouldn’t you take a little care with your appearance?
Personally speaking, I just adore make-up. I don’t feel subservient wearing it, I feel empowered. In years to come they will have to prise my mascara wand out of my cold, dead hand.
That’s why I hate to see lipstick and blusher portrayed as something demeaning and even sinister. Don’t give up the warpaint sisters! It is our armour against the world.
Shallow to say drinking is a disease
In the hit film A Star Is Born, Ally (Lady Gaga) goes to visit the disgraced Jack (Bradley Cooper, pictured together in the film) after he has been in rehab for two months in a bid to cure his alcohol addiction.
‘It’s OK. It’s not your fault. It is a disease,’ she tells him in a moving scene.
However, that is simply not true. In fact, it is indeed shallow. Claiming that addiction is a disease is not only scientifically baseless, it hinders rather than helps many addicts because it undermines hope.
It makes them believe they do not have agency over their condition, that they are helpless in the face of a greater force.
Whereas they are the only ones who can help themselves.
Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga, whose character goes to visit Cooper’s disgraced Jack after he has been in rehab