Although Ed Miliband must have choked on his cornflakes at the George Galloway result this morning – it’s fascinating how the tale of the week’s political woes have for the large part been polarized by food.
On the one end of the scale, the humble hot pasty – on the other end the chi-chi costa fortune ‘kitchen supper’ in the Cameron’s Downing Street flat.
Food is political – in the message it can send out, and in what happens when people gather around it. It signifies class, taste, judgement – and is a keen indicator of how you choose your friends.
Whether George Osborne’s VAT on hot pasties was simply a reasonable ironing out of an anomaly or not – for some the tasty treat now epitomises the narrative of his beleaguered budget, in which the rich carry on with their kitchen suppers with a few extra quid for another bottle of chablis, and the poor get their pasties taxed.
Politicians mess with food at their peril. Peter Mandelson mistaking chip shop mushy peas for guacamole (albeit apparently urban myth) rang alarm bells for grass-roots labour.
William Hague made voters cringe with his unlikely claims of swigging fourteen pints of ale.
Ed Balls tries to convince us he’s not a ball-breaker by tweeting details of the birthday cakes he makes for his kids (while his wife Yvette insists her signature dish is fish fingers, natch).
Think of Tony and Gordon and their matey ice-cream campaign moment and shudder. And was there ever a meal more laced with political poison than the infamous Granita dinner?
As our politicians stagger, sated with the week’s calorie-laden headlines off to their Easter breaks, there is plenty to chew on and lessons to be learned. Just ask David Miliband. I bet he can never quite look a banana in the eye.