Belfast Telegraph

Lynda and Joanne are vote winners

By Gail Walker

As Mike Nesbitt struggles to rebuild the UUP brand, it was good to see his wife Lynda Bryans and MLA Joanne Dobson adding a dash of much-needed glamour to the party conference at the weekend.

Lynda looked vibrant and sexy in a gorgeous red dress while Joanne was stunning in a business-like but feminine black and white frock. Each added on-trend accessories and their hair and make-up were fab.

Both women exuded modernity, confidence and personality. As we say in these parts, there's a bit of life of about them.

Perhaps it's not fair, but the sight of stylish women always says more to voters than a thousand soundbites and a hundred dreary position papers about equality.

Goodness knows, Ulster politics has a surfeit of grey men in grey suits. It's not the Fifty Shades of Grey many women seem to prefer these days. There's just something that lifts the heart of many to see a glam dress, mascara and a touch of lippy ... on a lady for a change.

It also shows they're making an effort. Those outfits required careful deliberation. They weren't just stepping into some old pair of trousers, grabbing the first tie that came to hand and - if there's time - giving the shoes a quick polish.

Perhaps it's a small start, but the sight of Lynda and Joanne on Saturday at least gives us hope that times here might actually be a-changing and that women will yet get politicians who, er, actually look like them.

(Oh, and since Lynda has clearly nailed her own place in the style stakes, perhaps she could give over a few hours to working on her husband's rig-out, to stop him morphing completely into former UUP leader David Trimble; the likeness is becoming spooky!).

Inclusiveness is one of those buzzwords trotted out routinely by our leaders yet it rarely seems to apply to 50% of the population. Sadly in 2012, women remain all too rare sight in politics in Northern Ireland.

More Joannes and Lyndas please.


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