A nightclub kiss raised eyebrows, but Sally is resolute

In a world of conformity, Mrs Bercow adds to the gaiety of public life

Share

Other people’s marriages, eh?  Charles and Nigella, Rupert  and Wendi, Bill and Hillary,  John and Sally. We’ve seen  in recent weeks how the intensely private can be paraded for  the scrutiny and delectation of a voyeuristic public. As the great man said, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. So it is a pretty futile exercise to try and guess.

Nevertheless, it’s a safe bet to assume that, over the tea and toast, there was tension in the air in the Bercow household last week. In fact Sally Bercow – back on Twitter, like the addict who just needs one more  hit before she finally, irrevocably, for sure, for ever, gives up – tweeted that it had indeed been “a tough week for me and J (my fault)”.

As we know, she’d been pictured snogging a man called Clinton Baugh who has been described variously as  “a fitness adviser”, “a DJ” and “a professional dancer” at 2am in a London night club. She was wearing a brunette wig, presumably to go incognito, although her appearance with the multi-talented Mr Baugh on the front page of The Sun meant that this plan was not entirely successful.

She’s not only back tweeting – she’s back drinking. Only wine, she insists, but after 10 years on the wagon, she reckons she’s got it all under control.

She told her followers that, after giving up alcohol in 2001, she was now “drinking like a normal person”. Hold on a minute. A normal person? That’s an interesting yardstick. After spending time in Westminster, with its subsidised bars and its captive clientele, Mrs Bercow’s idea of  what constitutes normal may be slightly skewed.

Nevertheless, who are we to judge what Mrs Bercow – a private individual who, as she says, married a man called Mr Bercow and not one called Mr Speaker – gets up to in her leisure time? Of course, Sally Bercow can’t have it both ways. Anyone posing in a bedsheet for a magazine wants to catch the public eye and the reverse side of that coin is that it brings unwanted attention. Hence she can’t go out for the night, have a few sherbets and end up in a clinch on a dancefloor without it reaching the tabloid picture desks.

The fact is that, in a world of homogeneity and conformity, Sally Bercow adds to the gaiety of public life and her unapologetic, unabashed reaction to the criticism she gets makes her, to my mind, a very attractive person. “I know I’m deeply unsuited to being the Speaker’s wife,” she told an interviewer last year, “but what am I supposed to do? Divorce the man I love?” And now, following last week’s snog-gate, this 44-year-old mother-of-three said she “couldn’t  give a damn what people thought” and that her marriage would outlast attempts to destroy it.

I really hope the Bercow marriage survives. John Bercow may not be the most popular man in the Palace of Westminster, but he has been resolutely supportive to his wife, and indulges both her contradictory (to his) political views and her desire for self-expression. Unlikely though it may seem, John Bercow may just be a feminist icon for our times.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk