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At last, America has its very own iron lady

The camera can be such a liar.

Sarah Palin has been mocked for having “budget cuts” and “lift American spirits” scrawled on her hand as aides memoires. Closer examination, however, has revealed the notes carried essential safety information: “Walk. Chew gum. Walk.

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Chew gum ...”

It’s easy to poke fun at Palin. Even the White House has been at it, with press secretary Robert Gibbs doing his own

version of the “hillbilly palm pilot”. On his hand was written: “Eggs, milk, bread” – no sexism there, boys – “hope, change”.

You might think an administration presiding over a $1.3 trillion deficit would have better things to do, but there’s something about Palin that ensures she’s never far from their thoughts. Something to do with a bid for the presidency in 2012?

Palin is not the most eloquent of speakers (her catchphrase is “You betcha!”), but she can still hit the Obama administration where it hurts. “How is all that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya?” is her current question to audiences.

Palin is the stuff of liberal America’s nightmares on several fronts. She’s a woman, which means she can be roughed up politically, but personally the gloves must stay on. And the woman she calls to mind among American voters is Margaret Thatcher, another big plus.

Besides her access to voters via Fox News, there’s her fearlessness. Pilloried from the moment she arrived on the McCain ticket, she keeps bouncing back. Her response to the latest White House jibe was to write “Hi Mom!” on her hand.

This isn’t a normal politician. This is Godzilla in heels.

At the back of liberal minds is the fear that Palin will slip through to the presidency. They laughed at Reagan and Bush Jnr too, remember? She has a year to brush up her act, a long time in politics. Watch that space between her ears: it’s filling up fast.

A tale of two soaps

IT began with a corpse and has been manufacturing carnage ever since, what better way for EastEnders to celebrate its 25th birthday than with a live episode next week.

The BBC has been reminding everyone what a pioneer ’Enders has been. Gay and disabled characters, Scottish male nurses: you name the drum, it’s been banged.

A bright new age is meant to be dawning, but a dip into the current goings on doesn’t half make you feel the best days of EE are over. Between storylines more threadbare than Dot Cotton’s coat, and attempts at comedy so excruciating they must surely have been conceived in Guantanamo, the Square is showing its age.

Contrast it with the ever sprightly Coronation Street, where the scenes featuring Gail “Black Widow” McIntyre and her lucky white heather husband have been perfect soap fare. What does EastEnders have? Another murder investigation in a place that has a higher homicide rate than The Wire’s Baltimore.

Keeps your hands off

FOOTBALLER Ashley Cole is the latest celeb to have mobile phone woes. Vernon Kay, host of Family Fortunes, had itchy fingers syndrome, symptoms of which included sex-texting ladies who were not his wife. Cole, meanwhile, says he took pictures of himself on his phone, loaned it to a pal, who pinged the photos to a topless model – are you keeping up here? – who promptly responded.

I have a solution. It came to me dealing with a post-op pooch who wouldn’t keep a bandage on her paw. She was fitted with a plastic hood, a device memorably dubbed “the cone of shame” in the movie Up.

Mobile phone miscreants could have cones of shame fitted to their hands. Cheap, good for a laugh, and gets the job done. Tess and Cheryl, call me any time.

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