CityOut had a Monte-Carlo lunch with Edwina Currie, former UK government minister and current-day media star.
Edwina was guest speaker at Celebrity Lunch Monaco, where she delivered an entertaining and, at times, controversial performance.
The former British Minister for Health – most infamous for her egg scandal under the Conservative government of the late 1980s – was clearly charmed to be in Monaco and at the Café du Paris.
“Aren’t you all lucky,” she cooed to a sell-out crowd at the final Celebrity Lunchof 2012.
The Liverpool-born novelist and radio star owned the stage from the moment her heels hit it. She covered a curiously compelling tour de force, including a career under Margaret Thatcher; skirmishes with Swadlincote police during her time as MP in Derby; and a runaway Citroen that ended up in a farmer’s back-garden.
Yet the whole puzzle of the celebrity speaker circuit is whether guests truly share an intimate portrait of themselves, or merely provide clownish and carefully scripted caricatures.
With Edwina, there was a sense that, metaphorically, this was her with her heels kicked off, her guard down, and brimming with mischief. That was the first-half of her show anyway. As her stage act of titter-some Tory tales wound down and the high-profile audience were allowed to ask her questions, the political animal began to bite.
Earlier charm turned to political churn, as she rounded on Labour spin-doctors, benefit cheats, overseas tax dodgers, unruly immigrants, Scotland Independence seekers, and men!
The former lover of British prime minister John Major was on bollock shrinking form. It was no surprise, when asked by one curious audience member for her views on compulsory sterilisation for men, Edwina simply replied: “Depends on who the man is!”
For both genders at this top Monaco lunchtime event, Edwina Currie was compelling and divisive entertainment. The ‘best’ or ‘beast’ of an equally compelling and divisive era in British politics? A bit of both, we’d say.