Miriam: “I only take applause from the platform when I have given the speech”

It is not like me to gratuitously share links to the Mail on Sunday but this time it’s worth it. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez has given an interview to the Fail to publicise her upcoming cookery book Made in Spain: Recipes and stories from my country and beyond (available for pre-order here). My husband has had enough heavy hints dropped that I want this book for my birthday next week.

At least the Fail called her by her proper name, although they had to slip a “Mrs Clegg” into the headline. You would think her readers would know exactly who she was given how vile the paper has been to her at every opportunity over the last six years. She is not and never has been “Mrs Clegg.”

Anyway, the interview shows exactly why so many of us love Miriam so much. She does things her own way and she gives no hoots whatsoever. She was never going to be chummy with the Tories – and reveals that she refused to cook for George Osborne when he came round for dinner once. She was annoyed because she thought he was behind some mischief-making and wasn’t going to play happy families with him so she took her boys out instead and left them to get a take-away.

Miriam has always refused to be pigeon-holed as she describes here:

People tend to look at women as either professionals who don’t go in the kitchen, or women at home who don’t do anything intellectual, but most of us do lots of different things. I think it is about time to let everyone do whatever they want. I don’t make judgments about a very clever [male] CEO who is mad about cricket.

My very favourite bit of the interview comes when she talks about how she never did the kissing on stage thing after Nick’s conference speech.

She never once got up on stage at a party conference to kiss her husband, which she refers to in her book as one of many ‘tiny humiliations’. When Nick’s aides tried to hustle her up there with him (they soon knew not to ask), she told them, ‘I only receive applause on a podium when I deliver the speech myself.’

I laughed out loud at the next sentence:

As a result, there were always snide remarks that cabinet meetings had to be scheduled around Nick doing the school run.

Now who would say such an ignorant thing? Well, one example would be one Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail of all papers. In 2011, he wrote an article titled: “Hen pecked Cleggy should tell his wife that running the country matters more than doing the school run.”

Sarah Brown wrote in her book that the Downing Street staff initially asked her to provide breakfast for Gordon every day because that is what the PM’s wife apparently did. She asked them to get him something from the cafe there because she had her own work to do. Miriam had a similar experience with expectations from the staff at Chevening, the house that they had joint use of with William Hague:

And then there was the man who ran Chevening, the country house Nick shared as part of his post, who assumed her boys and their nanny would be sleeping in a separate wing until she gave him short shrift.
‘I was expected to spend hours designing menus, talking about flowers for the dinner table and having pointless conversations about things that, honestly, nobody in this century should care about,’ she writes. She recalls being on a business trip making a trade legal assessment in Africa. Her phone persistently rang until at last she answered and was asked, ‘What kind of vegetables exactly would you like for the dinner on Saturday night?’

The interview at least mentioned the reason she has written this book – to raise money for her Inspiring Girls campaign which she’s taking international. The idea is that women in senior professional positions visit schools to talk to the girls about their careers and inspire them to realise that they can do

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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9 Comments

  • Floating Voter 24th Jul '16 - 9:48pm

    Woukd she have found a publisher for her recipes if she hadn’t been Mrs Clegg?

  • David Evershed 25th Jul '16 - 2:37am

    It is petty to call the newspaper that published the article The Fail.

    It says more about the writer than the newspaper.

  • Allan Brame 25th Jul '16 - 6:45am

    @David Evershed
    Are we referring to the paper which is running a headline today about Sir Philip Greed?

  • Michael Main 25th Jul '16 - 7:53am

    Caron was merely following the example set by Private Eye regarding the title of the newspaper. The Excess is another one as well as famously ‘The Grauniad’

  • Floating voter: maybe she would but she does put her name to things she does and says

  • Alasdair Brooks 25th Jul '16 - 10:28am

    This is likely a fairly small point, but if we’re going to chastise the Mail for not getting Miriam’s name right, can we perhaps spell her surnames with the accents in place? Ideally, she should be ‘González Durántez’.

  • The only reason she is getting publicity from the daily mail and LDV is because she is married to Nick Clegg. Without her marriage she would be a complete unknown in the UK and find it much harder to get publicity for her book. Good luck to her, but she should be honest enough to admit how her husbands name has helped her.

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