MUTTON AND LAMB

I enjoyed the carry‑on between Brazil’s Trumpian President Jair Bolsonaro and France’s posturing President Macron over derisory remarks (they were actually rather mild) about Macron’s elderly wife Brigette.

Brigette was a school‑teacher, married with 3 children when she met the 25 years younger Macron, then one of her pupils.

Years later after her marriage ended she married Macron which obviously, given the age gap, aroused attention. Prominent English novelist Julian Barnes’s, excellent latest work “The Only Story”, revolves around such a love affair between a 19 year old student and a 48 year old spirited housewife. Such things happen.

Brigette is blessed being (on my estimation) one of about 20% of females born slim‑hipped. The great advantage they enjoy is never getting hippy fat, thus in their 60s and onwards, always having a natural elegance and generally belying their years. But, and there certainly is a but, they make damn fools of themselves if they then try and emulate teenagers in their dress.

The cold hard fact is Brigette looks ridiculous solely because of her young girl’s totally unsuitable, wig-like hair-style. Thus she deservedly cops the stock cliché ridicule, specially in France, of mutton dressed as lamb. It’s self‑inflicted damage.

There are many aspects of this. For example, South East Asian women epitomise in both figure and face, the western ideal of feminine beauty. More to the point they retain a youthful beauty a couple of decades longer than western women; ergo they can get away with the sexiest and simplest of female hairstyles, namely ponytails, into their fifties. Unless they have very youthful features, most western woman over 30 with a ponytail would look ridiculous.

This is not just a female issue. There’s no sillier sight than a middle‑age and sometimes older male, dressed like a teenager and wearing a ponytail or hair bun. They’re the epitome of wetness.

Growing old gracefully is a desirable trait, which is not to say one can’t still be at “it”, play sport, albeit not as well as in earlier years, and so on.

Were Brigette to pull her hair back from her face, or if she is wearing a wig, wear a more suitable one, the scorn she cops in France and elsewhere would cease. She may well owe Bolsonaro thanks for his dig, that’s if she acts on it.

JACINDA – THE DE-FACTO PRESIDENT

Seemingly all political commenters and not just those of the right, are now condemning Jacinda Ardern as an absentee Prime Minister, hiding behind her Ministers when major issues arise. It’s probably a fair cop.

But here’s another perspective; does it matter?

The thing about Jacinda is she’s genuinely nice without a mean bone in her body. I suspect the public sense this and warm to her; her presence making them feel good and if so, politics aside, that’s a good thing. What’s important is that in the shadows at least one Senior Minister is holding the reins. That’s doubtless occurring, probably with Finance Minister Grant Robertson filling that key role.

BLIND POLITICAL ENTHUSIASM

Jim Callaghan, Britain’s Labour Prime Minister in the late 1970s told a great story which I read about last week.

In the early Thatcher years he received a telephone call from a zealous young woman, campaigning on behalf of Labour.

“Can we expect your vote?” she asked.

“Oh definitely”, Jim replied.

Encouraged by this, she asked whether he’d be prepared to become more deeply involved with the Party.

“Well,” Jim said, “I was Prime Minister last year”.

CLIMATE CHANGE HYPOCRISY

We’re being hammered about our wicked ways with plastic, dairy farming, cars etc, the latest fashionable sin being our evilness in flying in jet planes.

Last week, the current whipping boy for some British newspapers, namely Prince Harry plus his wife Meaghan, were given a roasting for a short trip in Elton John’s jet as his guests for a stay with him. So why don’t they hammer Elton John and the hundreds of others owning private jets.

Well get this.