Tory press gives Shredded Wheat PM easy ride on ‘pre-resignation’

Imagine if Ed Miliband had likened politics to a breakfast cereal


Shredded chances: Cam no cereal PM

David Cameron blew his chances of re-election last night by saying he’ll step down after a second term he hasn’t even won.

The Prime Minister’s mad promise not to run for a third term before winning his second saw Cameron liken his government to Shredded Wheat.

The bizarre comments, made while showing off his posh kitchen on the BBC, were blasted as ‘arrogant’ by Labour MPs…

This is what a story in the Sun might have looked like if its owner was not backing the Conservative party. Yet for a paper that never misses a chance to jeer and humiliate Ed Miliband, the Sun’s coverage has been the very model of restraint.

This is the paper that yesterday ran a mock-up of a semi-naked Miliband in a rubber ring and armbands outside Downing Street on its front page, and recently ran a cover story, complete with Wallace cartoons, on the voting intentions of TV’s Ant and Dec. (They were anti-Miliband, if you have to ask.)

But instead of jibes about the Shredded Wheat PM anointing his own successors, we have a front page story about extra troops being sent to protect the Falkland Islands from Vladimir Putin, (who has yet to claim the islands as part of Greater Russia, though I wouldn’t put it past him). The PM is relegated to page two, and the Sun says column ignored the news.

The extraordinary remarks by David Cameron, not to say his ridiculous choice of simile, have provoked a sort of deer-in-the-headlights response from the Tory press. The Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail all ran cover stories on the announcement, though neither of the first two found any space on their comment pages for the topic. (The Express ran the story on page two without the Shredded Wheat quote.)

The Mail‘s coverage was actually the best of the bunch, saying the ‘bombshell’ risked undermining Cameron’s authority, and running a thoughtful comment piece by Dominic Sandbrook. In its editorial column, the Mail struck a plaintive tone:

“Coming from a highly intelligent man, it was a remarkably unguarded comment. Whatever possessed David Cameron, less than seven weeks before an election, to fire the starting gun for a Tory leadership contest in the next parliament? […]

“Is it too much to hope that over the coming weeks, Mr Cameron will think before he speaks?”

In other words: “We’re not angry, we’re just disappointed.”

The coverage today lays to rest any denials that a majority of the British press is biased along party lines. Put simply, how do you suppose the Sun would have responded if Ed Miliband had likened political terms to Shredded Wheat?

By contrast, Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, says:

“The Times has it wrong; this is not really the starting gun for a leadership race. It’s just the sound of Cameron shooting himself in the foot.”

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

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12 Responses to “Tory press gives Shredded Wheat PM easy ride on ‘pre-resignation’”

  1. Neil Meadows

    Yes. the majority (though by no means all) the daily newspapers prefer Cameron to Miliband as they have every right to do. What’s your point?

  2. Cole

    The point is that there is a bunch of Tory backing papers who have abandoned any journalistic standards to act as propaganda tools for the Conservative Party – no doubt as instructed by their propeietors.

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    And people have every right to comment on it, as this article does.

  4. maximus

    Did any journalists writing about this actually watch the interview? Cameron was asked IF you win this election will you stay for a their term. There was no assumption he would win – he merely answered the question he was asked. Big deal about nothing.

  5. Jonathanward

    Cameron should have known that journalists misinterpret anything said by a politician to their advantage and Cameron fed them the line; his lack of sense is astounding and it will cost dear. It is nearly as stupid as debating with the awful Clegg in the 2010 debates – it made Clegg and probably gained the useless Lib-Dems 10 or 20 seats thus denying Cameron a majority.

  6. AW1983

    Yes, but Miliband has to deal with big deals about nothing (bacon sandwiches, two kitchens etc) all the time. That’s the point of the article.

  7. Cole

    And congratulations to LFF for exposing the distortions and misrepresentations of the Tory press.

  8. Samuel Hooper

    You’re quite right, all this focus on who might replace Cameron if he squeaks through this election is a distraction. Much more interesting is who will replace Ed Miliband in the highly likely event he loses the election for Labour and gets forced to resign as leader:

  9. Selohesra

    Don’t forget the Labour backing BBC – whipping up non-stories in attempt to set the agenda rather than report on it

  10. Guest

    Don’t forget your lying, when the BBC is the government lapdog per studies.

    But hey, keep trying to censor things bad in any way for the right from the press.

  11. sarntcrip


  12. Cole

    Labour-backing BBC? Don’t make laugh. Another silly right wing myth.

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