Whilst the British, Canadians and Australians are today celebrating the old colonial traditions of boxing-up presents for the 'poor', I wondered what the French, and in particular the elite, would be doing.
Speaking on her 41st birthday in Brazil, Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy said that now she was married to President Nicolas Sarkozy she had given up her man-eating ways of old, which included a string of former boyfriends from Sir Mick Jagger to Donald Trump. "I can no longer seduce because I love my husband," she told the Brazilian edition of Marie-Claire magazine."I don't want to hurt him. I am no longer a man-eater," she said.
While Nicolas was sealing an £8 billion arms deal with his Brazilian counterpart President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy was 'working hard' to promote her humanitarian credentials. She visited a breast milk 'bank' in Rio de Janeiro that provides sustenance to impoverished Brazilian children and spent her birthday touring a Rio slum.
But, following their official duties, Mr Sarkozy and his wife will stay on in Brazil for a private holiday until Dec 29, staying in a palatial suite in the Copacabana Palace – the preferred hotel of celebrities and VIPs from Marlene Dietrich to Princess Diana. Hardly seeing how the poor live! They have been spending Xmas with the first lady's biological father, Maurizio Remmert, a Brazilian industrialist.
It always gives me a wry smile to see how humanitarian efforts by the great and famous, and even serious political committee meetings, always seem to be booked in beautiful, exotic places away from the winter chills. When there comes a time that such events happen in such places as Scunthorpe, or Wigan or Ladywood - then I'll know they're for real. But until then....

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