Media Watch: Tale of two kitchens hides the fact the Mail got it wrong

Yesterday Miliband's kitchen proved his socialism, but today it reveals his affluence


If at first you don’t succeed, try something else. So runs the mantra of the right-wing press, who after saying that footage of Ed Miliband’s kitchen, shown by the BBC on Tuesday, was a warning of the dystopian society we can expect from a Labour government, were unfazed by the news that this wasn’t his kitchen at all.

Far from retreating from yesterday’s bizarre column by Sarah Vine, who attacked the room’s ‘communist-style egalitarian lino’, the Daily Mail has moved on to sneering at Moneybags Miliband’s two-kitchen decadence.

It reports: “The poky room the couple were pictured in, albeit with an oven and hob, was revealed last night by a family friend to be a ‘functional kitchenette’ for ‘tea and quick snacks’.

“The revelation opened up the Labour leader to claims that he was trying to make his family life look more humble than it is, even though his home is reputed to be worth £2.5million.”

It goes on to quote Tory MP Nigel Adams, who adds: “Clearly there’s no cost of living crisis for ‘Two Kitchens’ Miliband. […]

“Red Ed can try as much as he likes to portray himself as a man of the people but the only people he’s in touch with are the North London metropolitan elite.”

The Mail even quotes Vine’s piece in order to crow about how right they were – despite the fact that they got it completely wrong.

Vine did wonder if the small room pictured was really the Miliband’s kitchen, but that didn’t stop her from going on to draw bizarre conclusions from it anyway. (Her piece being incoherent and self-contradictory is hardly a point for the Mail.) 

So one day the kitchen photo is a key insight into Miliband’s ‘socialist’ politics, the next it’s Labour propaganda to hide his secret affluence. And the Mail was right all along. We have always been at war with North London…

Meanwhile, the paper today ran a cuddly piece on the Sun‘s interview with Samantha Cameron, who spoke about supporting her hubby and Comic Relief, in marked contrast to their stiff write-up of the BBC’s interview with Miliband’s wife, Justine. (Vine’s column yesterday described Justine as a ‘cerebral’ and humourless feminist.)

A teasing but less gloating piece in the Times (‘Revealed: Ed’s two-kitchen secret’) suggests the non-kitchen was only filmed because the BBC needed a ‘linking shot’ for their interview footage, though it notes Miliband was photographed in the smaller room in a 2011 story for the Guardian. So it’s not clear whether the charge that Miliband wanted to hide the larger kitchen has merit (Labour has so far declined to comment on the story.)

But since this whole ‘tale of two kitchens’ started with the Mail‘s attempt to make political hay with the BBC interview, it is extraordinary that they should so breezily re-write their mistake to attack an ‘elitist’ Miliband whose Mansion tax – despised by the Mail – would take money from his and other £2million-plus properties to fund the NHS. That’s the real ‘secret’ at the heart of this storm in a teacup.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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