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Power play begins with `me'.

What is in your Room 101? Maybe it's Cilla Black as a colonic irrigationist, a Brillo pad sandwich or simply Chris Evans. For whatever it is that tweaks your goosebumps be it popsocks or Pot Noodles, nothing can be more invidious, more unnerving andnigh tmarish than that of the ambitious woman.

No, don't worry I haven't been bushwacked by the Sheldon Amish Liberation Front and I'm not writing this under threat of a lifetime of jam making and chair-leg whittling, for I remain a fully paid up member of the feminist movement. OK, I'm an old fashio ned gal.

I don't mean the aspiring and inspiring women who make up 99per cent of the career classes but the helent hell cats who ride roughshod over all of us to achieve some never-ending goal that echoes into eternity. Therefore it came as no surprise to hear th at Geri Halliwell had quit the fab five.

She was the least likeable of the lot but she was the one with the most drive, who had been a stripper, a soft porn model and a games show presenter in Turkey and who once said with frightening conviction that she would do anything to become famous.

Success didn't spoil Ginger Spice, she's always been insufferable. But hearing her words and observing her antics made a cold shiver run down my spine. For I have met scores of Miss Halliwells. They speak with stainless steel voices from PR companies, th ey act like pilot fish to the big sharks of showbiz and worse still they come in their most alluring form, as work experience girls.

With the eagerness of an Andrex puppy and the cunning of a hungry fox they will pick your brains for information. "So who do I write to to get on staff here? When can I meet the MD?" they want to know everything about you, particularly how you got into y our line of work and they will even act as your best pal for a fortnight.

When you ask them what they would like to do when they leave school/college they say with sweet menace "Your job" and hand you a box of Roses as though it were your retirement gold watch.

Weeks later you will find them lunching with the boss and joining the team on a whacking salary and a few nice ideas about how you might improve on your job. These are the young women who give girl power a bad name for it is simple Me power masquerading behind good natured and shameless obsequiousness.

But what God didn't bless with talent she made up for with ego, for the Geris, the Ulrikas and Emma Nobles (for CV see Geri) are the ones who know what they want and they aren't going to let a silly old thing like ability or integrity get between them an d the main chance.

Me Girls take and drop boyfriends as career moves and have the sort of pantomime sexuality that guys/bosses (who are blind to such things) go ga ga for and make other women retch. And this is quite literally the rub.

Me Girls aren't team players, in their egalitarian solipsism they care not for anyone except themselves. They do things that make feminists despair and insecure male types chuckle with malicious delight. They are a two-finger salute to any woman whohas fought with honour for an honest battle for recognition. My old pal Oscar Wilde once said that ambition is the last refuge of the failure and with this in mind I drink to their success.
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Author:Rice, Carole Ann
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 8, 1998
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