KEITH NEWBERY Edwina’s still an irritant in the grim cul-de-sac of celebrity

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When chiselling out a crust by writing columns for a living, you must be prepared to allow your thoughts to drift across the entire landscape of imagination and ideas.

Occasionally you find yourself wandering contentedly over the sunlit uplands, but more often than not you end up in the soulless backstreets or grim cul-de-sac of reality.

It’s in one of these you are likely to stumble across Edwina Currie, still revelling in every opportunity to fulfil her role as the public’s number one irritant.

She first came to national prominence when Margaret Thatcher made her a junior minister in the health department.

It was at this time she almost single-handedly destroyed the egg industry by claiming that ‘most of the production in this country is now affected by salmonella.’

She also gave the elderly some bizarre tips on how to keep warm in the winter, which stopped just short of suggesting they stuff a freshly-boiled suet pudding up their vests.

When the lady’s constituents finally ran out of patience with her at the 1997 general election, only the naive or desperate really thought she had gone for good.

In the 15 years since, she has written six novels, appeared in virtually every reality television show ever conceived and is now best described as a ‘media personality.’

This means no medium is safe from her personality, which appears to be based on a triumph of self-regard over objective opinion.

But like most people of her ilk, Currie can be a bit domineering.

She recently reduced a young mother to tears during an exchange on national radio by telling her she only had herself to blame for her family’s financial problems.

However, when Currie herself was challenged on the matter a few days later by Owen Jones – who looks and sounds about 15 years old and has a familiar, common-room approach to socialism – she twice threatened to walk out.

Admittedly he was a bit brattish, but the points he made were relevant.

Anyway, it’s the first rule of politics – if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.