Mums' army - they know best

THE year 2006 could well go down in history as the year when sense, rationality and relevance are restored to politics.A year when the “p” - the point, perception and real people power - is put back into the political system.

THE year 2006 could well go down in history as the year when sense, rationality and relevance are restored to politics.

A year when the “p” - the point, perception and real people power - is put back into the political system.

A Mums' Army is rallying to march on town halls across the country, seeking to elect women to seats to bring real-life experience of the hell that is estate living.

These would-be politicians are mums - ordinary, working-class women who feel ignored, disenfranchised and worthless in the current decision-making process.

These women deal with daily ugly reality of life in the worst communities, on the drug and crime-ridden estates, and face daily battles keeping their children safe and their homes protected.

They want - and need - to be part of the democratic process. They feel their local councils do nothing to help them. That their feelings are irrelevant.

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No one truly understands the misery until they have lived it. These women who could make a real difference never dared put themselves forward before.

But now they have backing and an official political party launched by Britain's best-selling magazine, Take a Break, which is helping at least 54 mums across Britain to stand for local councils under the Mums' Army banner.

Fantastic and about time. Real people for real politics.

Unsurprisingly, more than 10,000 women have already pledged their support for the party - equivalent to 10 per cent of the Conservative Party's membership - with interest rising by the day.

Their manifesto - yet to be finalised - encapsulates the real issues that affect voters today: yob culture, gangs, violent videos and music, bad parenting.

They want membership of street gangs outlawed, parents of ASBO children to attend compulsory parenting classes, the banning of video games, music and videos promoting violence and more lenient treatment of people “provoked by yobs into breaking the law.”

Take a Break started Mums' Army after bags of letters from desperate, distraught and sometimes suicidal mothers, trapped in communities dominated by thugs, drug-dealers and bullies.

People everywhere are too terrified to step outside their doors in fear of attack.

In Gorleston last year, a court heard how a woman, regularly intimidated by gangs of youths, dared not even switch a light on in her home and struggled to cook in darkness to avoid a baying crowd outside.

ASBO orders are rising as violence, intimidation and crime stop being the preserve of the big cities - they're everywhere and they're getting worse.

There is no substitute for experience and personal insight into the culture that's wrecking communities and lives.

Better still, it's an exclusively female party to bring empathy, sense and efficiency to council business and force decisions to be taken with the real people in mind rather than numbers on an electoral register.

Mums' Army candidates should be encouraged in the Waveney and Great Yarmouth. I look forward to their march.

EVERY journalist and politician in Parliament was aware of Charles Kennedy's relationship with the bottle.

But no one exposed it as his great protectors persuaded everyone otherwise.

His problem was presumably covered up for the “good of the party' by the Lib Dems' inner circle.

Then suddenly his protectors decided to hang their leader with the vice they'd covered up for so long - this, remember, the leader who had taken their party to unforeseen heights, attracted more votes than before and had forged a stronger third party in an era of political disillusionment.

All achieved despite his fondness for booze.

The long knives and back stabbing have merely served to undo that work and show that the Lib Dems are, in fact, no more honourable and steadfast than the rest.

THE deliciously addictive and endlessly entertaining Celebrity Big Brother has blown any prospect of January blues away.

I'm already bleary-eyed from late-nights spying on the surreal bouts of George Galloway and Rula Lenska - now, they do make a handsome couple - bitching about the self-obsessed nightmare Jodie Marsh et al. No weighty matters of state or war chat here. It's just bitch, bitch, bitch.

The hilarious wittiness of the surgically massacred Pete Burns shows most of the housemates up for the dull-as-ditchwater “entertainers” they really are. Bizarrely, it's the oddest-looking who's turned out to be the most normal, sane and straightforward.

The quiet wit and spot-on observations of Maggot are so endearing.

And watching Michael Barrymore's desperate script of self-pity, begging for public forgiveness, merely exposed him as the weak and self-obsessed individual we all know him to be.

Barrymore's circa-1977 “act” of impersonating Adolf Hitler and Frank Spencer hammered that final nail into his showbiz coffin, fingers crossed.

The producers have pulled a blinder this year concocting the weirdest and funniest mix of people. Just the thing to ward off miserable January moans. I haven't stopped laughing yet.

I KNOW Tory leader David Cameron must be tired and fraught after his first months in office but is a war on the Terry's Chocolate Orange really what the leader of the opposition should be doing?

Poor WH Smith - struggling with falling sales and in the wake of one of the worst losses in its 212-year history - faces attack about selling cut-price choccy oranges at the till.

According to fit and svelte Mr Cameron, when we're in the grip of an obesity crisis shoppers shouldn't be tempted by the wicked confectionery at the till.

They should sell fresh oranges instead, he suggests. Oh please.

WOMEN waste almost £13,000 on clothes and shoes they never wear - about 600 items a lifetime, according to research.

Guilty m'Lud.

But I'd rather waste money on shoes than guzzle it away in booze or puff it away on cigarettes and drugs like too many other women. Where's the harm? At least clothes can be recycled.

FOR the first time, I felt more than a pang of empathy for Victoria Beckham.

A Danish tourist was aghast that she'd left home without tissues for a theatre trip with Brooklyn and Romeo.

Brooklyn's nose was running and Romeo dropped ice cream over himself and they had to borrow tissues.

“How can parents of two young children forget to bring tissues,” he asked, smugly, explaining that his wife had been more than willing to supply them.

Like Victoria, I've never managed to join the ranks of “real mothers” and remembered to carry tissues for my two boys. The habit never happened and, embarrassingly, I am always caught out. It's probably why my younger son's sleeve is most unsavoury.

“The children were noisy and unruly,” he added. My sympathies with VB again. Been there done that.

But I was more concerned about what was she thinking of taking a six and a three year old to Mamma Mia in the West End…

FULL credit to 16-year-old Robert Nolan who never missed a day's school in 11 years.

His mother Margaret is also very proud but should she be?

“He has broken his hand a few times but luckily it was his right one and he is left-handed so he's been able to go in still,” she declares.

“He's gone in once in the morning with it broken and I've been able to take him to the hospital in the afternoon so he couldn't even get a day off for that.” Poor child.

“I even sent him one day when the school was closed. He was the only one there,” she crows.

“He knows I would kill him if he skived.”

No wonder Robert says:” I wouldn't dare miss a day.”

Mrs Nolan appears to be perfect answer to the nation's truancy crisis.

ONE of my New Year's resolutions I'm sticking to is to use supermarkets less and small shops and farm shops more.

“Fresh” fruit and vegetables on our supermarket shelves are up to a year old and kept in storage with a gas called SmartFresh which stops the natural ripening agent, along with other methods like ethylene gas.

Our potatoes could be nine months old and apples a year old. We're all being hoodwinked.

At the weekend, I only bought locally grown produce from the farm shop.

It tasted far better than its supermarket cousins and I felt incredibly virtuous explaining to my children about seasonal vegetables and avoiding imports to protest about unnecessary air miles used to fly in foreign produce.

It's cheaper too.