Sophie Morris: I'm with Michelle

Share
Related Topics

When did holidays metamorphose from straightforward stretches of R&R into highly politicised statements? I ask this because Michelle Obama's jaunt to Spain with her youngest daughter, Sasha, and a few friends is being attacked by anyone with an audience, as if it had the significance of the Magna Carta.

But the criticisms resonate with mere civilians, too. First there's the quandary of splashing out for a holiday at all when it's supposed to be the age of austerity. And air travel is the most obvious of eco sins. Worst of all is the fact she's left Mr Obama at home (and on his birthday!) to holiday with the girls. She's been judged a spendthrift for holidaying in Marbella, a beautiful spot in southern Spain with its fair share of power players and rich residents, but one also maligned as a playground for gaudy wannabe WAGs and conmen on the run. Oh, for shame. Does the First Lady's otherwise impeccable style not translate to the nuances of European snobbery?

Then there's her choice of accommodation, the Villa Padierna, where rooms can cost towards several thousand pounds a night. She apparently block booked half the hotel to put up her entourage of 40 girl mates. This indulgent frippery, along with the security and Air Force Two travel, has cost the US taxpayer around $375,000.

But it's the presence of these friends – along with the absence of the President – which seems to be causing the most upset. The White House insists she is on a private trip with Sasha, two female friends and their four daughters, along with four staff members, and are paying for their own rooms, food and travel in Spain.

And why not? There's nothing like a good girlie holiday to dust off the drudgery of real life. My first forays into the Michelle Obama style of summer holiday lacked the glamour (and, I suspect, always will), but the premise was exactly the same: school's out, so the girls can get away together, assuming they're lucky enough to have mums who don't work or can take the time off.

The location was a caravan site on Anglesey where the mums played poker for tiddlywinks every evening while we learnt to snog and to smoke. As time went on, the trips became more exotic and the behaviour a little bawdier. The mums, naturally, were disinvited. Ibiza at 18, Greece at 19, then 10 of us hit Thailand at the age of 20.

All precious time we can't have again. Therefore if Barack can't make it because he's running the country, that's no reason to keep Michelle and the girls at home, tilling the White House's veg patch and watching reruns of The Simpsons.

One angry US commentator has described her as a "modern-day Marie Antoinette" because of the extravagance of the trip. It's true that she could have organised a more modest holiday on home turf. And yes, that would have been more sensitive given her country's economic plight. But the idea she should dress in cast-offs and opt for a bargain sun break runs counter to the stylish, globally aware and culturally inquisitive image the Obamas and America want to present to the world. And who's to say it wasn't her head of security who demanded she stay in such an exclusive hotel?

So she missed her husband's birthday. What was she supposed to do? Hang around outside the Oval Office in case he finished work in time for a nightcap? Plus, holidaying apart is said to be good for a relationship. A recent survey by the travel operator Kuoni found that 59 per cent of couples actually split up after going away together.

A politician's choice of holiday destination is just as sensitive in the UK. So the thrifty Camerons are returning to Cornwall. Is it just me, or does Michelle's whirl around Moorish palaces sound a hell of a lot more fun than what's on the cards for SamCam – bitching over the garden fence about how difficult it is to find a decent rental with Orla Kiely crockery and parking for the 4X4?

sophielouisemorris@gmail.com

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Neo-Nazis march in London  

I'm taking my Jewish kids to a vile neo-Nazi rally in London this weekend because I want them to learn about free speech

Richard Ferrer
A police officer carries a casualty to safety  

Tunisia attack proves that we cannot stop terrorists carrying out operations against Britons in Muslim countries

Robert Verkaik
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map