Ed’s kitchen has much, much more than Sarah Vine may have noticed with her eyes. Jacob Whitehead peels the layers away to show us the Milibands’ proletarian palace in its full glory.
|Plotting in the proletarian palace (source: BBC)
As Ed Miliband rises from his paisley Wesley-Barrell, tie askew, he turns to Justine and simpers; his plan is almost complete. Only two months until the General Election, the date his red dawn would be unveiled. Yet the public still seem undecided, derision pervades the papers and he still cries himself to sleep at the thought of a bacon sandwich. But Ed is content, his master-stroke is yet to come. Speaking of which… he wanders to the floor to ceiling bookcase, seemingly glancing at his collection indiscriminately. And then he darts, stumbling slightly over a loose shoelace, but with purpose nonetheless, to an ornate copy of Das Kapital. His pallid hands pull it back, exposing a small keypad behind. A pause, a puzzled expression, a panicked phone call to New York. One short answer later, he keys in the 4-digit combination (1984).
Immediately the whole bookcase begins to turn, propelling our eponymous actor into the alternate media reality of his second kitchen. Whilst it may seem ordinary, dominated by the usual Formica and novelty tea towels, it’s truly anything but. In a cupboard below the oven, hidden under a colander, are earnings from his second job as an elocutionist. His mugs sit on the drying rack, embossed with the faces of Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. And in the pantry, half-hidden by jars of Farmhouse Chutney, is the emaciated figure of Jack Straw, being punished for his sins. Ed wanders to the hob, and breaks eggs into the grilling pan of bacon, his toast already buttered.
There is still plenty of work to do he thinks, as he stews over his recipe for election success.
If the BBC had uncovered this scenario last week, the media response would be justified. “It resembles something from a Soviet era housing project” and is “devoid of colour or character,” (just like its leader) writes Sarah Vine, wife of Michael Gove, in who would undoubtedly equally attack Miliband for his choice of Elizabeth Arden tea towels if his kitchen was more finely decorated. Incidentally, Sarah Vine’s kitchen is beautifully furnished, possibly due to the £7,000 Gove paid to Oka, an interior design company owned by Samantha Cameron’s mother, to re-furnish his second home. All paid on expenses of course.
It’s a sad reflection on the press at the moment that 2 months before the most open election in recent electoral history, this is the story that’s dominated the news this week. Cameron is still attempting to shirk a direct TV debate with Miliband. Grant Shapps has been lying over his second job, and has even come up with an alter-ego ‘Michael Green’, to defend Gotham Garden City against Miliband’s joker. Oh, and has been revealed to have threatened a constituent over this affair. Compare this, a politician lying and threatening to accrue more wealth, against a politician who has merely been photographed in a kitchen which needs Nick Knowles and his DIY SOS. Yet, which is seen as more important in the eyes of the press?
Youth apathy surely arises when people don’t feel what’s being said reflects them. The role of the media is to inform. By not identifying issues that the public doesn’t just want to hear, but needs to hear in a democratic society, the media have failed in their duty. Whilst politicians need to take some flak for occasionally being self-publicising, egotistical airheads, it’s time for some of the mainstream media to be attacked for making it this way.
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