With Sven and Ulrika, the Mirror had the dream exclusive. But its editor, with his new serious agenda, used the story in a way that looked as though he didn't believe it

When Ulrika Jonsson, via a "close friend", asked her sometime lover (and long-time partner of someone else) Sven-Goran Eriksson "What kind of man are you?", she already had the answer. Ulrika thinks he's "a lying cad", the close friend said, through a national newspaper.

Which left us wondering just one thing. What kind of woman are you, Ulrika?

Let's start with a successful, wealthy, beautiful one. We might have added intelligent, except her behaviour of late would somewhat undermine that.

There cannot be a person alive in this country who doesn't know that Sven is with Nancy - ball-master loves ball-breaker. After Tone and Cherie, David and Posh, Liz and Phil, they are this country's best-known couple.

So just what kind of woman pursues a man who is publicly and obviously happily partnered, sleeps with him a few times, then allows her "close friends" to slag him off when he refuses to pack his Louis Vuitton luggage and £3m-a-year salary and move in with her?

If Sven's a cad, what does that make Ulrika? A cadette, perhaps?

The queen of cleavage who downs pints as greedily as other women's men has the temerity to cry foul. Surely we have reached the point in the emancipation of women when a thirtysomething, independently wealthy, consenting female cannot come over all despoiled victim because a man she chose to sleep with chose not to leave his long-term partner?

Yet all this was ruthlessly played out for the benefit of the media. Turning up at Stamford Bridge on the day after news of the affair broke, when she knew Sven and the world's cameras would be there, was one PR stunt too far. (And talking of PR, was it my imagination or was that Simon Astaire, the PR millionaire who was briefly linked to Ulrika, photographed with Nancy on page 3 of Tuesday's Daily Mirror?)

For the woman who thinks lying low is a new sexual position, Ulrika could hardly have done more to flaunt her relationship, her ultimatums or her pain. She joins a long list of women - including Princess Diana, Liz Hurley and Patsy Kensit - who don't understand the notion of private lives.

And to think that Ulrika had finally won the public's precarious sympathy after nursing her sick daughter Bo through a series of heart operations when her former partner had left her, literally, holding the baby. I bet that with every day that passes, with every new headline from a "close friend of Ulrika", Sven will be increasingly relieved that he is still with Nancy, and thanking God that he does not own a bunny.

The new Daily Mirror - the paper with attitude - had difficulty deciding which attitude to strike when it discovered the Ulrika-and-Sven affair. The relaunch of the now black-top tabloid was still in its infancy when editor Piers Morgan's new hard news agenda was put to the test.

Instead of splashing on what can only be considered a dream exclusive, Morgan had it both ways by splashing on the Italian skyscraper plane crash and revealing the romance of the year in such a way that it looked as though even he didn't believe it.

The BBC's Despatch Box that night decided, on the basis that the story was run on pages 8 and 9 in the Mirror's 3am girly gossip column, that it was just that, a bit of girly gossip.

A missed opportunity.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, is to spearhead the government's initiative to stem the flood of fascism from across the Channel into Britain after the success of Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front in the first round of the French presidential election. Tony Blair has urged the French people to "reject extremism".

Le Pen believes that races are unequal, that the Holocaust was "a detail in the history of the Second World War", and that three million immigrants in France should be sent home. He is a fascist, a racist and an extremist.

One of the reasons why people such as Le Pen have been able to prosper is that, as part of the battle for the middle ground, politicians have been prepared to say anything to damage their opponents. Terms such as "extremist" and "racist" have been used for maximum political damage, without any regard for their truth.

The result is that these terms - which should haunt any decent person - have become completely devalued, labels as meaningless as left and right.

Blair would do well to instruct his party not to use the terms "extremist" and "racist", as they did relentlessly during the 2001 general election, to describe anyone who believes in keeping their currency, putting the brakes on further integration into Europe or having an honest debate about the asylum crisis in this and every other developed country.

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