G20 WAGs and a patronising
hen party from hell....
By Jan Moir last updated at 1:14 AM on 03rd April 2009

What is the point of the G20 WAGs? Why did they come here? Their presence at Gordon Brown's grandstanding international summit this week was an absolute waste of time and money, gathering up a snowball of rubbish gifts and expelled greenhouse gases as it went.

Their presence meant the gathering was turned into the worst kind of company away day.
All that was missing was a paintballing afternoon and a team-building workshop hosted by Svetlana Medvedeva, the wife of the Russian president. 'Michelle, you must do vat I say, or else!'
Standing joke: The G20 WAGs pose for the cameras as they
play second fiddle to their husbands
Even worse, their appearance on the world stage as meek consorts of great men pushed back the frontiers of the women's movement by about half a century.
Look at chief G20 WAGs Sarah Brown and Michelle Obama, both high-achieving women in their own right.
This week they were reduced to walk-on parts as international clothes mannequins, dutiful wives and enthusiastic cuddlers of crippled children and queens. It was pathetic to behold.
Sarah, a woman whose innate decency cannot be denied, was even photographed making cups of tea in a cancer charity centre.
In the background, Michelle encouraged everyone to give 'big hugs'. All that was missing was the scrape of violins, some cookie baking and an angelic choir to echo their every sympathetic word.
Pass the tear-soaked hankies, girls - and the chains, so we can all tie ourselves to the kitchen sink once more.
Such impulses on the part of the G20 WAGs to do good - and to be seen to do good - are admirable, of course.
Yet sometimes the images such staged charity events send out to the world beyond are less than obliging. Indeed, wouldn't it have been better for all concerned if the wives and girlfriends had stayed at home?
After all, where were the husbands of German chancellor Angela Merkel and Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner?
Not skipping up the Mall showing off their new spring suits and empathy skills, that's for sure.
Catch a man playing a secondary role that invites people to judge him or make impertinent remarks about his choice of socks or cocktail party charms? You must be joking.
In the real world, when husbands - or indeed wives - go to important business conferences abroad, they don't drag their partners with them, do they?
So why did this happen at the G20? Like Ryder Cup wives, the pesky women were merely tolerated; kept away from the real action then entertained, fed, watered and patronised by all - with an increasing note of hysteria.
When Michelle Obama wore a green skirt, for example, one writer suggested this sartorial choice somehow 'ushered in a new era in world politics'.
Elsewhere, all Mrs O had to do was smile or pat the head of a passing orphan to be hailed as the new Diana. Gah!
However, by far the very worst aspect of the whole trip was the cringe-worthy single-sex dinner held by Sarah Brown on Wednesday night.
Dear God, what an insult to the poor WAGs! It was billed as Sarah's Soiree. Yet by any standards, it was the hen night from hell.
Downing Street's solution to entertaining the wives of the G20 leaders was to cram the girlies into a backroom and force feed everyone a Jamie Oliver feast of farmed salmon, garlic-scented soda bread, lamb, dumplings, goats' cheese, Bakewell tart and custard. Ugh, ugh and ugh again.
Dairy, carbs and pastry? Sometimes all on the same plate? I can't imagine Chikako Aso for one, the wife of the Japanese prime minister Aso Taro, tucking into that little lot with much enthusiasm.
However, what was really insulting to British women - and the WAGs - was the line up of guests whipped up by Downing Street to represent the cream of national female society and achievement.
Cue Dame Kelly Holmes turning up in strapless black netting that showed off her tattoos and muscles.
Then that sanctimonious bore, JK Rowling, looking like a half-shut umbrella as usual.
Pauline Macaulay was included on the guest list, a woman whose contribution to British life seems to begin and end with being Sarah's mum.
Fair enough, perhaps, but Naomi Campbell! A violent prima donna with a criminal record.
Emma Freud! If it wasn't for her partner Richard Curtis, she'd still be presenting afternoon chat shows on BBC2 and trading on her ancestors.
One can only wonder what Michelle Obama and Kelly Holmes, seated next to each other, discussed once they had exhausted the topic of Chicago's Olympic bid.
Perhaps they talked about clothes? Michelle's wardrobe is always carefully scrutinised by the world, but it would be interesting to know what Dame Kelly keeps in the closet.
What a disaster! Down among the slow-roast lamb and new season English asparagus, an old story was being played out.
The G20 WAGs were shunted aside like naughty children, banished to the wilderness in an old-fashioned port and cigars manoeuvre. No wonder clever Carla Bruni stayed away.
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