Kitchens appear to be the focus of the General Election at the moment. Too much “Election Kitchen Sink Dramas” for me, but then it creates a story for the journalists.
For those that haven’t been following the media in the last few weeks, Nicola Sturgeon, Ed Milliband and David Cameron have ‘starred’ in their own kitchen dramas. Ed Milliband revealed he had two kitchens in his chi chi home. This was only revealed because his Christmas card photograph featured another luxury kitchen whilst he appeared in another, basic kitchen in another photo. Of course there was a media meltdown.
Then this week, David Cameron was interviewed by the BBC. Yes, in his constituency kitchen whilst preparing food. He had already featured in his No.10 kitchen where Telegraph readers could helpfully check they were using similar food products.
Then the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon invited Susanna Reid from GMB to coffee in her kitchen. Of course there were then comparisons of all the leaders’ kitchens and I’m excited to inform you that you could even vote for your favourite kitchen.
I find it so intriguing that kitchens are now being used as ‘sets’ for political interviews. Clearly their advisors have told Nicola, Ed and Dave that they will connect with their voters if they are seen relaxed in their kitchens. But using a kitchen as a ‘set’ can be dangerous. We are all nosy human beings and there are plenty of distractions, from posh kitchen appliances, ingredients and decor to lure us away from the message in hand.
But there is also a lot of ‘kitchen envy’ and speculation as to the leaders’ class and wealth. Surely this is distracting, or was an intentional distraction technique?
I find it intriguing that kitchens are now used as a political battleground and selling point for personalities. There are still plenty of Daily Mail and Telegraph readers who firmly believe women’s roles are solely in the kitchen. And as we know there are UKIP personalities who believe women should be cleaning meticulously behind fridges.
But in the late 50s and early 60s there was a cultural ‘revolution’ with what was referred to the “Kitchen Sink Dramas”, where characters played out their frustrations and anger in plays. Tom Stoppard was one of a number of ‘Angry young men’ writers who wrote about working class life, ambitions and frustrations during that time. As the dramas were set in kitchens or dingy living space, they were referred to as kitchen sink dramas, and there was no glamour. It was basic.
So it is fun how we have moved a full circle: that the election is morphing into a kitchen sink drama – whether or not this is intentional!