Tory Novelists: How I was curried by Edwina

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The Independent Online
On Saturday, I interviewed Edwina Currie. On Monday morning, that interview appeared in this paper. On Monday afternoon, Edwina announced her 26-year marriage to Ray Currie was over. Come Monday evening my answerphone was flashing with messages that went: "Is scoop there?" Oh, ha-bloody- ha.

But did I really miss the story? No, I did not. My own view is that it was Edwina who missed the opportunity to tell me, which is a shame, because I am a very sympathetic listener and could have said some useful things along the lines of: "How did Ray put up with you for as long as he did?" and "What did he see in you in the first place, anyway?"

Now, I'm not saying Edwina isn't entirely without some endearing characteristics. She is, at heart, a very caring, warm person, the sort who had worked out that her elderly mother had sufficient funds to provide for her own nursing care for "two and a half years should it come to it".

Anyway, I did ask Edwina about her marriage. Truly, I did. And she said the things she always says. Ray is brilliant. Ray `likes a quiet life' and lets her do her own thing.

But what if I'd asked : "Are you and Ray about to split up?' Would she have answered truthfully? I don't think so. Hang on, are you saying that Edwina would have lied? No, of course I'm not. She is, I'm sure, a very honest person. But she lied to the press all the time when her daughter, Debbie, went about pretending to be a pop star. "I found myself telling lies! Bald-faced lies! And when Debbie and I read them back we were in stitches."

Of course, there was nothing cynical about Edwina making the announcement when she did. On Saturday, when I accompanied her to a book signing session, I noted that business was so quiet she almost had to half-nelson people into buying her latest novel. The fact that, from now on, she'll create much more of a fuss and will be greeted in bookshops by, if not more readers, than at least a full turnout of the tabloid press is, I'm sure, entirely unrelated.

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