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Hero or Villain? Edwina Currie


Katy Guest
Saturday 15 September 2012 19:22 BST

Edwina Currie does not "do regrets", she reveals in her latest diaries, which are published this week.

That's fortunate, because Edwina Currie has quite a lot not to do regrets about. For instance, if Edwina were the regretful type, she might feel pretty shame-faced about the salmonella-in-eggs fiasco, her four-year affair with John Major, admitting to her affair with John Major, Celebrity Come Dine With Me… If she did regrets, it seems, she'd have little time to do anything else.

But Edwina doesn't just regrette rien in the usual, Edith Piaf way. This is no casual putting-aside of the small, nameless guilts that nag at all women in the early hours. This is a woman who seeks out situations that a lesser person might find shameful and plunges right in with gusto. It's as if she's continually probing her missing regret response. Adultery? Nope. Telling David Cameron that "he's got a face like a nicely creamed baby's bottom"? Nothing. Trying to grab the tight T-shirt off a former Hollyoaks star despite his obviously, really, really not wanting her to? Ah, sod it, put it on Channel 4.

There are some people who get quite cross about Ms Currie. For instance, when she tweeted that the Italian Paralympic athletes were "gorgeous, even in wheelchairs", a lot of people said she was patronising and offensive. However, as Currie later explained on Any Questions, "I was looking at the people", proving that she is the one who understands people with disabilities and it's everybody else who should be ashamed. Thank goodness she was there (the athletes must have thought).

Getting cross about Edwina Currie is the wrong response, however. In an era when women seem to feel guilty for being working mothers, for not working hard enough, for having sex, or for eating chocolate, Ms Currie should be held up as a barometer. The next time a woman starts beating herself up for having hairy armpits or not getting the children to school on time, they should think about Edwina Currie and let it go. If even she doesn't do regrets, then we certainly shouldn't. Thanks for the freedom, Edwina Currie.

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