Leading article: Political greetings of the season

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The Independent Online

What a difference, we hardly need to observe, a year makes.

Gordon Brown took self-effacement to its limit; his card showed a tiny Downing Street front door hanging by a red ribbon (read thread?) from a thorny holly branch. The Opposition leader offered a snow-capped Big Ben behind an equally wintry Tory-logo tree. Was he saying something about the economic climate? Nick Clegg's son drew the family with a Christmas tree and a Santa.

This year, post-election, it's all about families. Power, they seem to ask, what's that? David and Samantha Cameron coo over Florence in front of a much more solid-looking Downing Street door. Ed Miliband and his partner (no wedding rings) cradle their two young children in austerity black and white. The Clegg family have transmogrified into gingerbread people. Soft, and easily consumed?

Not that we would be mentioning any of this, were politicians less pernickety about Christmas card semiotics than we know them to be. How will they present themselves, we wonder, a year hence?