Life after Spice for Ginger and Sporty, just money for Scary, Baby, Posh

So farewell then, Ginger

So farewell then, Ginger. And farewell, probably sooner rather than later, Scary, Sporty, Baby and Posh, writes Caroline Sullivan.

The rising tide of rumours about damaging rows and resentments within the all-girl group were finally confirmed at 2.30 p.m. yesterday when lawyers for the two sides released statements announcing the departure of Geri Halliwell - Ginger Spice - citing "differences" with other band members.

Although the remaining four maintain they will carry on without their de facto leader, history is against them. The Supremes never recovered from Diana Ross's departure, and Take That split up six months after Robbie Williams left.

When the Spice phenomenon does end - as it must, given the void left by the member who most embodied Girl Power - obscurity beckons, except for Ginger, a future chat-show host if ever there was one, and Sporty, who has the best voice.

The other three are about to discover that the words "exSpice Girl" don't open many doors - as various ex-Take Thats could confirm. Not that they need to work; they have supposedly earned £21 million each in just under two years.

But the money may not compensate for the loss of the celebrity that was their driving force. That sort of attitude earned them the enmity of the rock establishment, who viewed their stage-school beginnings with disgust. For the Spice Girls music was more a marketing tool than an artistic passion; none the less, they have produced some pretty good records - Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life.

In fact, expect a Spice revival sometime around 2020, when their little-girl core audience hit their 30s and become nostalgic. That is if the little girls have not formed bands of their own by then.

The true importance of "Girl Power" may not be apparent for another decade or so, when women no longer encounter impediments to careers in music. Only time will tell if Ginger and company really have made a difference, apart from making slut clothes trendy. As it stands, the only real barrier they have surmounted is that separating art and commerce.