Belfast Telegraph

A royal baby, Wayne's world, 'sexist' clothes for kids, First Lady fashion tips ... why these headlines beat real-world horror

By Lindy McDowell

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that they are expecting a third child. Of all the many people whose hearts will have been uplifted by this happy news, I think we can safely say who will have been first among them.

Wayne Rooney.

At last. A headline that will in some measure detract from the compelling and ongoing coverage of Wayne in the Volkswagen Beetle with the impressively bosomed “party girl”.

Sadly for himself (but also poor Coleen) Wayne has once more found himself centre-stage in a story which can best be described as traditional tabloid gold.

Married celeb footballer caught in car with hottie from nightclub. Carlsberg don’t do tabloid exclusives ...

In a world weary of what we in the business call ‘hard news’, it is increasingly the inconsequential and the gossipy that makes headlines as it elbows aside (or at least pushes down the news agenda) matters of greater import.

How else to explain why so many national newspapers have spent time this week analysing the implications for the Rooney marriage had the boozy couple made it to his new lady friend’s house and, thence, presumably, to bed?

And yet there’s been surprisingly little debate about the implications for other road users on the same night facing an alleged drink-driver behind the wheel.

Wayne Rooney, his only crime was infidelity? We shall see when he appears in court later this month.

At least the story takes our minds off gloomier issues. Trump, Kim, natural disaster, Brexit and eternal logjam at Stormont.

At one stage this week, Wayne’s world was getting even more attention than (potentially) the end of the world.

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing for any of us that a fading football player’s night on the town is deemed more newsworthy in some quarters than the threat of intercontinental nuclear warfare, but at least it sends a clear message to the National Trust.

The Trust has recently been criticised after a ‘sexist’ pink cap was found on display at one of its properties.

Aimed at little girls (although in these non-binary times who’s to say?) the cap featured the slogan, ‘Future Footballers Wife’ (never mind the sexism, no apostrophe!).

Poor Coleen Rooney’s experience may be proof, however, that footballer’s wife isn’t the dream position cap-manufacturers seem to assume.

‘President’s wife’ isn’t such a fantasy fixture either. When President Trump descended on flood-hit Texas, it wasn’t the unfortunate victims, the scale of the devastation or even Donald’s aid efforts that became the major talking point. It was his wife’s choice of footwear.

Melania arrived in the disaster area kitted out in snakeskin stilettos, a bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses.

Disaster Barbie, some called her.

The heels were so high she could have waded through the torrent without getting her ankles wet.

“It’s sad that we have an active and ongoing natural disaster in Texas, and people are worried about her shoes,” said her spokeswoman.

Indeed. However, that, my friends, is the way of the world. We home in on the trivial because it takes our mind off the terrible.

What made me do a double-take wasn’t Melania’s heels, it was her baseball cap. The one that said FLOTUS. First Lady of the United States.

You actually feel you need (or even want) to flag that up to the world, Melania? It’s not quite on a par with ‘Future Footballers Wife’, but it is a bit braggy, infantile and unnecessary. 

Meanwhile, back in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un larks about with the global annihilation button as a means of making himself look important.

He’s already set off a hydrogen bomb, which has done heaven knows what damage to the earth. What he might yet do is unthinkable.

So perhaps it’s no wonder we focus on the footwear of FLOTUS and the marital indiscretion of football’s big Wayne.

In this grim world, all this is our escape. Which is the ongoing bad news for Mr Rooney.

Calling time on Stormont might be an idea

I love the proposal by James Ashe that Stormont should be transformed into one big Wetherspoon’s.

James, who obviously has had it up to here with the impasse, has started a petition on change.org demanding the Big House be put to better use and our well-paid MLAs get to know what serving the public really entails.

It might work too. We could put a nice wood-burning stove in the corner and, for the whiskey lovers, there’d be some Powers sharing.

Beer drinkers might be best advised, though, not to ask for a pint of blonde.

Mayor needs good grace to represent all

Like Nuala McAllister, our new Lord Mayor of Belfast, I too am a non-believer, so I don’t say grace at dinner.

But would I permit grace to be said if, by some fluke, I became Lord Mayor of the city — Lord Mayor for all the people of the city? That’s a different matter. My thinking would be that while it wouldn’t be a big deal for me, it would be for many of my fellow citizens, so why not just do it?

I don’t think it’s offensive not to do it. I just think for a first citizen aiming to represent the entire Belfast population, it would be the thing to do. The gracious thing to do.

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