Simon Kelner: Edwina, you're starting to sound a bit sex-mad

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The Independent Online

I doubt Edwina Currie has many quiet moments of reflection, those times, usually after nightfall, when most of us might be bedevilled with self-doubt.

Edwina, if the evidence of her latest diaries is anything to go by, will surely occupy her mind with less darkly introspective thoughts, like a list of all the men who want, or wanted, to have sex with her, or the ways in which she could have made John Major a better prime minister, or the historical figures to whom she can compare herself.

At no point, do you imagine that, she'd sit on her sofa, switch off the video of The Lover's Guide (I kid you not: she admits to watching it on her own), and contemplate whether these diaries make her sound just a little bit like a pompous, self-absorbed, sex-obsessed nut job.

I suppose the decision to publish your personal thoughts (written contemporaneously, we are led to believe) means you are on the wrong boat to start with, the SS Piers Morgan, if you like. When you are casually trashing the reputations of serious people, and when you are prepared to cough up the most intimate details of your family, you're not going to worry about how you sound.

Unlike Piers, who wrote with a degree of self-knowledge and studied self-deprecation, Ms Currie appears to have a complete tin ear. In an interview on Radio 4 on Saturday morning (I know, I just couldn't get to the off button quick enough), she shamelessly referred to herself alongside, first, Pepys and then Alan Bennett, and her magnificent tome, which covers the period between 1992 and 1997 and is now being serialised in a newspaper, is full of grandiose comparisons and extravagant claims.

In yesterday's instalment, she tells how, at an Anglo-German conference, she was propositioned by three different men, two of whom were "distinguished professors", who, we assume, should have known better. She despairs of her former lover, John Major – "I could really have helped make this nice, reasonable man into a formidable performer," she says.

One hopes she is talking about his political performance, although we cannot be sure. Steve Norris, the well-known Tory swordsman, is another she claims wanted to get her between the sheets, but in her response to Norris's exceptionally kind offer, she says, "If I want an overweight, middle-aged bloke, I've got a much nicer one at home."

This is something of a jolt for the reader. Poor Ray, the long-suffering husband, hardly gets a look-in (save for some thoughtless denigration) and, with all the talk of sex, one-night stands, and unrequited desire, you have to remind yourself that, throughout this period, Ms Currie was a married lady. She is less Pepys than Pooter, a nobody burnished with self-importance.

But I did enjoy the descriptions of her colleagues, and by extracting her adjectives, I constructed a Tory version of the Seven Dwarfs, as imagined by Edwina: Oily, Lazy, Hideous, Arrogant, Patronising, Unpleasant and Slippery. Tell it how it is, girl!