One of many ways in which Conservative strategists have achieved an edge over Labour in the branding of their leader was in their realising early on the symbolism of breakfast. Even before the election, there were headlines saying that David Cameron had ‘Choked on his porridge’ that morning. This told us, not only that he was angry and shocked about what Gordon Brown had said the day before about the economy, but that Cameron regularly started his day with something simple, slow to prepare, and traditional. He was stealing what might be thought to be Brown's breakfast. And even before that he controversially allowed ITN to film his family at breakfast. I did not see this broadcast, but presumably he did not shout to his kids ‘I’m late for PM Questions; you get yourself Lucky Charms or Sugar Pops and I’ll see you at bedtime’. Making breakfast, and being seen to make breakfast, is being a good dad.
Ed Miliband, on the other hand, was photographed by the Guardian Weekend Magazine making toast for his kids. Toast. I suppose it shows him taking some trouble (I don't recall if he sliced a loaf) but for some reason it doesn’t carry all the traditional associations and effortfulness of porridge. And the cereal most frequently associated with Miliband is not one he has ever been reported as actually eating; it is frequently said that he needs to ‘break out of the muesli belt’. I don’t know why muesli has such a bad reputation; Tess suggests this may be the current way of referring to the socialists Orwell described (in The Road to Wigan Pier) as ‘sandal-wearing' and 'vegetarians’.
Sadly, one the most frequent associations between politics and breakfast (I have been Googling) was the phrase ‘X [e.g., David Miliband] could eat Y [e.g., David Cameron] for breakfast’. I think I understand that aggression can be seen in terms of cannibalism, but why for breakfast and not, for instance, for dessert? I will not be eating any of the party leaders for breakfast or any other meal.