Andy McSmith's Diary: David Cameron's kitchen stink could backfire on him

 

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Indy Politics

David Cameron must think the “two kitchens” story is doing Ed Miliband serious damage, because he managed to work no fewer than five jokes about it into Prime Minister’s Questions.

Cameron and George Osborne are very sensitive about their image as two posh men who do not know what everyday life is like. They evidently want as much as possible of the same to be directed at Miliband.

Meanwhile, Cameron had himself photographed in The Sun, making a sardine and mayonnaise sandwich in a well-stocked kitchen, and he has proudly told Sarah Sands of the London Evening Standard: “The kitchen is where you spend all your time. It needs a sofa you can slump on, a table you can sit at, a kitchen you can cook in, a place children can do their homework… there has always been a kitchen at the heart of everything.”

If he is prepared to let the world into his kitchen, what is his problem with Miliband’s? The answer is that Ed and Justine Miliband stand accused of trying to make their home appear more Spartan than it actually is by being photographed in a small, austere kitchenette when they have a larger kitchen on a lower floor.

“You shouldn’t pretend to be something you are not,” Cameron told the Standard. It is an interesting pitch by Cameron that he is truly upper-class and rich, where Miliband is something he pretends not to be. I can see why it might hurt Miliband, but it is not going to do much for Cameron.

A bookie-bashing Budget

It was rash of Ladbrokes to offer odds of 10-1 that George Osborne’s Budget speech would include a “two kitchens” joke. They admit it has cost them. The rumour is that, combined with odds of 4-1 that he would say “we’re all in it together”, it has set them back £20,000.

Archer turns up for once

There is a section of the gallery overlooking the Commons reserved for MPs and members of the House of Lords. It was, of course, full today. Sitting between Lord Mandelson and Lord Feldman was Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, better known as Jeffrey Archer. He has not spoken or voted in the Lords for more than 14 years, since he was expelled from the Conservative Party, arrested and jailed for perjury. But he was never expelled from the Lords because, until this month, that could not be done.

The only reason Lord Archer never clocks in is that he chooses not to. This month, the law was changed, and a peer who behaves as Lord Archer once did can be expelled from the House of Lords. But he need not worry: it is not retrospective.

Mandy is ‘Strictly’ desirable

Claudia Winkelman, co-host of Strictly Come Dancing, has named Lord Mandelson as the politician she would next like to see on the show. Not a bad choice. The journalist Anne McElvoy danced with Peter Mandelson when he was a new MP and found the experience “glorious”.

“The MP for Hartlepool’s taut thigh muscles were locked behind mine as we flung this way and that,” she wrote. “Emboldened by our unexpected compatibility, we dabbled in the twist, the waltz, the hoe-down and a fetching hip-bumping number of our own invention. When they played one of those songs of the early 1980s, to which everyone does the same preposterous routine with their arms in the air, we abandoned all dignity and did that too….”

I shall try to get that image out of my mind.

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