IF I had been Kamala Harris on Tuesday night, I wouldn’t have slept a wink.
Imagine going to bed knowing you are about to become one of the most powerful women in the world the following day.US Vice President Kamala Harris made history and she’ll make the future bright tooCredit: Rex Features Kamala will be a huge influence over President BidenCredit: Getty Images - Getty
Aged 56, she made history by becoming the first female, first black and first Asian-American US Vice President.
She can now change the lives of millions, especially those she has always championed — women and people of colour — for the better.
And while the eyes of the world should have been focused on Joe Biden, I couldn’t take mine off Kamala at the inauguration. She was a joy to watch.
While most people would have shown a glimmer of nerves, Kamala couldn’t stop grinning like a very proud, happy and excited Cheshire cat.
Who can blame her?
This is a woman who has dedicated her life to getting this job. Everything before was a rehearsal.
Kamala is the real First Lady. There is a lot of pressure on her. As former US Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said: “I know a thing or two about the slings and arrows coming her way. Kamala can handle them all.”
I have no doubt she can.
After getting a law degree and becoming just the second black woman elected to the US Senate, she ran for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
'STRONG, CALM & DEDICATED'
Her campaign didn’t go well but instead of sulking she accepted Joe Biden’s offer to be his running mate.
It was a smart move on Biden’s part. She is a strong, calm, dedicated campaigner, intellectual and compassionate. She is perfect for the job.
She was born in Oakland, California. Her dad is a Jamaican immigrant, her mother was born in India. Both were actively involved in the civil rights movement.
Their daughter couldn’t be prouder, saying: “It’s because of them and the folks who also took to the streets to fight for justice that I am where I am. They laid the path for me.”
And she has an amazingly supportive “Second Gentle-man”.
They say that behind every great man is a great woman — and Kamala has at her side Douglas Emhoff, a top lawyer specialising in media, sports and entertainment, who has quit his job to support her.
He said: “She’s got plenty of great people giving her political advice. I’m her partner, I’m her best friend and I’m her husband.
“That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to have her back.”
His two children do too. Kamala has done a fantastic job becoming “Momala” — she doesn’t like the term stepmum — to his two teenagers.Kamala has her husband Douglas Emhoff at her side who has quit his job to support herCredit: Getty Images - Getty President Biden and his wife Jill on inauguration dayCredit: Getty Images - Getty
It is not an easy role. But Kamala, herself a child of divorce, carefully inserted herself into their lives once she knew Doug and her “were in this for the long haul”.
Now she says her life wouldn’t be full without them.
There have been no real slip-ups in her path to the White House . . . if you forget the Vogue front cover on which she wore that unflattering suit and Converse trainers (not typical Oval Office attire).
But that hiccup is being eradicated. They are giving her another front cover next month using a different photo from the shoot. I’m sure this time Kamala and her team will check it before it gets anywhere near a newsagent.
I am excited about the change that will now take place with her supporting America’s 46th President.
Watching Kamala being sworn in, I had a strong feeling the glass ceiling has been smashed into a million pieces.
Kamala will be a huge influence over President Biden, present in every decision he makes. Her role is not to be underestimated.
In her first speech as Vice President-elect, in November, she said: “Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities . . . regardless of your gender.
“Our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before. We will applaud you every step of the way.”
Kamala has raised the bar for every little girl in America.
She and Biden have vowed to champion the rights of girls and women in the US and around the world. A new chapter is beginning.
It is a good time to be a woman. I suspect, in the US, the next four years will be even better.
Yes, we Nissan
It is important to celebrate the Brexit wins, and there was a big one this week when Nissan announced it is keeping its Sunderland factory up and running.
The Japanese car maker said its North East plant is secure for the long term as a result of the trade deal reached between the UK and the European Union.Nissan is keeping its Sunderland factory up and runningCredit: PA:Press Association
It said it will move additional battery production close to the site, where it has 6,000 direct employees and supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the supply chain.
This is great news for a brilliant and talented workforce.
No to Glasto
Glastonbury is cancelled for a second year in a row.
I know it’s disappointing for some people. But not for me.
In fact, can’t we all just agree that instead of sleeping in a muddy tent, using a chemical loo and trudging miles for a pin-prick view of the stage, we would prefer to sit on the sofa, after having enjoyed a lovely bath, and watch the best bits from previous years on TV.
A skill is a ticket to a job
At last! That’s what I thought on reading news that the Government has set out its plans to reform post-16 education and training in England to ensure employers have the skilled staff they need for the economy to grow.
The Department for Education has said new powers could be introduced to allow ministers to intervene when colleges fail to deliver good outcomes for the communities they serve.We have brainwashed kids into believing a degree is everythingCredit: PA:Press Association
And ministers want to overhaul the accountability system so that funding is better targeted at supporting high-quality education and training that is actually relevant to the labour market.
This is such great news – I just wish it had been done 20 years ago.
What employers need and want is a skill set – not a certificate for a meaningless degree. And a credible route into vocational training and apprenticeships which leads to real skills is so important.
If you have a skill, you will always have a job – it is as simple as that.
But we have brainwashed kids into believing a degree is everything. It isn’t.
If young people are not academic and don’t want to do a degree, they need to be able to access proper training to get the skills they need to find a job.
While ministers are in the business of reform, why not change the school curriculum and teach kids basic finance skills – how to budget, how to get a mortgage and responsible borrowing?
Oh – and how to cook!
Wow! It’s difficult to believe Davina McCall is 53.
The Masked Singer judge is just so dynamic, vibrant and full of life.It’s difficult to believe Davina McCall is 53Credit: Instagram
I guess that’s the power of fitness, a positive mental attitude and 25-plus years of being teetotal.
That is no mean feat. I have done 24 days of Dry January and am now busy counting down to February 1.
Farewell to hero Margaret
The world said farewell this week to 94-year-old Margaret Kelly, one of the last remaining female Bletchley Park code-breakers, who helped crack Nazi intelligence to secure the success of the D-Day landings.
Margaret was only 18 when she was posted to the Government Code And Cypher School at Bletchley, Bucks, during the Second World War.Margaret Kelly was one of the last remaining female Bletchley Park code-breakersCredit: Wales News Service
She joined a top-secret Nazi code-breaking mission and became a Wren – one of the team operating Colossus, one of the first large-scale computers, and the code-cracking devices that helped to shorten World War Two.
Margaret, who had 33 grandchildren, died peacefully at her family farm in Wales last weekend.
We all owe her a debt of gratitude. May she rest in peace.
Just when we are all on our knees after nearly a year of lockdown, along comes Storm Christoph, which has left some people’s homes in a state of ruin.
My heart goes out to all those who have been rendered temporarily homeless by the devastating flood damage – the last thing that anyone needs right now.
It is all the more galling because this happens every year.
Why don’t we just sort out our flood defences once and for all?
Dolly’s a delight
Wishing a belated happy birthday to the wonderful Dolly Parton, who turned 75 this week and looks a million dollars.
I love her bouffant wigs and rhinestone-encrusted clothes – and how easily she laughs at herself, saying: “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.”Dolly Parton turned 75 this week and looks a million dollarsCredit: Getty Images - Getty
I also love how little she cares about what people think of her.
But when she has sold more than 100million records and has a fortune estimated at £438million, you can see why she couldn’t care less.
Or, as she puts it: “I’m not offended by the dumb-blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb – and I also know I’m not blonde.”
Dolly Parton sings with brother Randy and sister Cassie at Dollywood in 2013
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