i Deputy Editor's Letter: Selfies Promotion


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The Independent Online


It has been a long, hard day out of the office. You’re on a busy work trip, visiting clients and meeting people. After your last appointment you decide, along with your colleagues, to go for a spot of dinner before you head home. Nothing unusual there, you may think. But then, you’re not the Prime Minister.

When David Cameron visited a branch of Nando’s in Bristol earlier this week he drew gasps from fellow diners, who whipped out their smartphones and hastily began tweeting their latest “celebrity spot”. Cue the PM posing for the (apparently) mandatory “selfies”, providing handy evidence for his PR team to prove that he really is in touch with the ordinary voter.

Opportunistic? Probably. A cynical ploy to make people think he eats in “regular places”? Possibly. Or maybe he was just hungry. Imagine the outrage if he had taken his campaign team to a Michelin-starred restaurant for a slap-up meal.

Perhaps it was just unfortunate timing that George Osborne was also spotted nipping into a cafe in Bolton “because he fancied a cup of tea”. (He was refused service on the grounds that, with his entourage of seven, he was taking up too much space during the busy lunch hour.)

Before you leap on these examples as attempts by Tories to pull the wool over our eyes, remember when Eds Miliband and Balls visited Greggs to buy sausage rolls. Or when Nick Clegg claimed on his radio phone-in show that he had been to McDonald’s. How many more times have they all been spotted there?

In fact, the only person who is genuinely photographed in a place he loves is Nigel Farage, who is almost impossible to catch through a lens without a pint in his hand. What does that tell you?


Twitter.com: @jonesrhodri