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#Ed Two Kitchens Miliband: Politicians and the photos that inadvertently come to define them

With a seemingly innocuous row about the Labour leader's kitchens making headlines, we look back at how political photocalls can backfire by crystallising weaknesses in the eyes of the electorate

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," as Tory MP Nigel Adams put it.

Whichever side you fall on, this much is true there is a rich tradition in British politics of photocalls designed to woo voters inadvertently enhancing their subject's weaknesses.

WILLIAM HAGUE AND THE CAP

Aloof; intellectual; out of touch with the British public. Those were the stereotypes that dogged William Hague during his years as opposition leader trying to take on Blair's New Labour after 1997. Posing in a cap, labelled HAGUE, did little to shake off the image.

TONY BLAIR AND THE CELEBRITIES

It appeared the perfect symbol of New Labour's New Government Tony Blair, Noel Gallagher and a host of other British pop stars and celebrities being ushered into Number 10. 'Cool Britannia' had arrived. Years later, the photos would come to embody the most pointed criticisms of Blair's administration skin-deep, media obsessed, all spin and no substance.

NEIL KINNOCK AND THE TRIP

"If you want a real scoop," joked Neil Kinnock to the cameras on a Brighton beach hours before his certain nomination as Labour leadership in October 1983, "I'll walk out there, on the water." Moments later, Kinnock slipped and toppled into the sea. Almost a decade later, it would be Kinnock's face in a lightbulb on the front page of The Sun urging voters not to back the party at the 1992 election. He lost.

DAVID CAMERON AND THE BRIEFCASE-CARRYING CAR

"Vote blue, go green," David Cameron's Conservatives had told the electorate in the run up to the May 2006 local elections as he attempted to detoxify the party's brand. However the message was undermined just weeks before the polls when it emerged that while the Tory leader cycled to work a car followed behind carrying his briefcase.

DAVID MILIBAND AND THE BANANA

Tony Blair's policy brain throughout he early New Labour years, David Miliband needed to convince the British electorate he was a leader and not just a details wonk if he was ever to reach Number 10. Posing alongside a banana at the 2008 Labour conference did nothing to help.

JOHN PRESCOTT AND THE PUNCH

The exception, perhaps. Not many cabinet ministers could punch a voter in the face in a general election campaign and not get sacked; fewer still could end up years later with their reputation almost enhanced. But John Prescott's apparent PR disaster reacting physically after being pelted with an egg in 2001 came to stand for his rejection of sticking to the script in favour of speaking his mind. As Blair put it at the time when pushed for answers by the media: "John's John."




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