Julian Clary: My advice to Lord Mandy? Flaunt it, sister

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The Independent Online

Lots of people are having a go at Peter Mandelson these days. He's too "silent" say some, meaningfully. His lips are too thin, declare others. He walks with clenched buttocks, accuses someone called Quentin Letts, whose own buttocks flap manfully in the breeze, no doubt. Poor Peter might be forgiven for thinking he'd entered Mr Gay UK, rather than the political arena.

We'll never know, of course. Mandy has responded to these unsavoury attacks with a magnificent display of indifference. Disdain is a vital part of any queen's armour. "I seem to have annoyed you gentlemen in some way," was Quentin Crisp's withering response to the East End thugs who beat him to a pulp. When my autobiography prompted a homophobic review from a right-wing newspaper, my publishers presented me with a T-shirt emblazoned: "Hated By the Daily Mail". I still wear it with pride.

I, of course, have never "let it lie" as far as my sexuality is concerned. The de-mystification of gay sex has been my life's work. If homosexuality had never been invented I would very probably have had a rewarding career as a florist in Milton Keynes.

Oral and anal references pepper my every utterance. My gayness works for me. But poor Peter. He's a Lord and Business Secretary. It must be irksome that one of the consequences of his refusal to discuss his private life is nudge-nudge, wink-wink references to lips and buttocks. It distracts from his serious "Business Secretary" work, after all. As for the ermine and scarlet velvet robes she wore as she received her peerage, well, its not going to help, is it? We all know gays like dressing up...

So what is my advice to Peter Mandelson, sister to sister? Well, Peter, have you considered innuendo as a potent weapon? Listen up. Make 'em larf, and maybe they'll love you more. I'd start with a couple of references to Black Rod during the next Cabinet meeting, if I were you. Maybe prelude this with the news that you can hardly sit down ... Any talk of Whips could be an area rich with innuendo.

As for your general look, we'll start with the good points. The hair is bona. A "winsome wheat" rinse-in colour shampoo, then be a bit more generous with the products, and heads will turn. Tinted foundation and a daring visit to Vivienne Westwood and we're almost there. I would suggest a visit to a discreet cosmetic surgeon I know in Mayfair. Thin lips can be a thing of the past. I'll say no more.

I jest, obviously. But you see my point. The world cannot yet view a declared homosexual without a snigger. As a comedian I can incorporate this, but it's a problem if you want to be taken seriously. The media likes their celebrity stereotypes.

We gays aren't much better. I rather agree with my lesbian friend who says there seems to be something missing. Popular as he is with dusky foreigners, British gays aren't exactly forming a queue. Once you step on to the dance floor you're just a piece of meat, I'm afraid, government minister or not.

The wisdom of Mandelson's disdain will eventually pay off. He is, in my opinion, the more evolved queen.