It doesn't seem outside the realms of possibility that election billboards will soon show UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, waiting for a kebab in a long line. One or two might feature Nigel Farage sitting down to a UKIP pie (it actually exists), whereas The Green Party's Caroline Lucas may or may not be pictured fanning a range of technicolor organic carrots.
We gaze upon Barack Obama tucking into a bowl of naughtiness, watch on as Francois Hollande scoffs some French fries. We spy Italy's former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, looking at his delicious ice cream as he might do a pretty personal assistant on this borderline fetishistic blog. We make a big song and dance over the German Chancellor Angela Merkel ditching sausages from her diet. We watch Toronto mayor Rob Ford going all out on a chicken wing, and gawp as Russian president Vladimir Putin sits down to afternoon tea with interesting company. It's endless.
The lead up to the UK's 2015 General Election may well end up being more like a series of MasterChef trailers than a leadership campaign. It used to be that party policy had priority. Advertisements were peppered with beliefs, seasoned with ideology, and voters were presented with some simplified notions of what's in store and promises of more prosperous times. Today, a big slice of our concern revolves around what our politicians eat, from their breakfast choices to what restaurants they choose to sit in of a weekday evening.
The world is ravenous in its obsession, and those with the reins are ready to feed us.
Back in England, poor old Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has been having a tumultuous time of late. His one moment of solace was that he didn't look like Ed Miliband while tackling a bacon sandwich. Clegg supposedly better handled proceedings—evidently a more pressing subject than the fact his party is crumbling like a particularly short pastry. The phrase 'soggy bottom' seems fitting.
Mixing food and politics can often make a strong statement, like Miliband and Ed Balls using Gregg's pasties (baked goods, not a cover-up for boobs) as a metaphor for how the Tories were, in their ever-reliable plight to hit people's living standards in every way they can, floating the idea of a pasty tax. Or, when Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond looked as though he was about to orgasm while eating porridge. It was both on-trend and patriotic. After all, nothing champions Scotland's independence like a galvanizing serving of oats, right?
Today, a big slice of our concern revolves around what our politicians eat, from their breakfast choices to what restaurants they choose to sit in of a weekday evening.
But any thread of seriousness seems to have slipped away. The days of crying about pasty tax are behind us and I doubt UKIP or its supporters think much about how their immigration policies would probably destroy the nation's takeaways. We've long forgotten about George Bush's symbolic plastic turkey in the midst of Middle Eastern war, too.
We're in farce territory now, drowning in blogs feature nothing more than sly shots of someone important who happens to be peckish. In return, politicians now simply pose with a pint and hope for admiration, or hit up a local Nando's to show the electorate that, deep down, they're 'one of us'. In days gone by, politicians might have engaged with potential voters by kicking a football around or strolled through a constituency wearing a stab-proof vest. Now, they do it with food.
World leaders can (attempt to) hide all sorts—you know, little things like war and the steady dismantling of national health services—if the cuisine is right. The hope is presumably that, while we fixate on David Cameron enjoying a cheeky Nando's or his right-hand man George Osbourne's choice of burger, we may, for a second, forget their apparent disregard for the UK's escalating food poverty. There are even signs of all this in the Far East, if the rippling excitement surrounding Chinese president Xi Jinping taking an unscheduled stop to buy a 'normal' steamed bun is anything to go by.
Ultimately, food has always been a softening tactic. It's a commonality, a thread that connects us all, and a more arterial route to winning people over in a sea of often impenetrable political rhetoric. Who understands half of what they say in the House of Commons? If a politician can paint a reasonably genuine picture—unlike this guy: who eats pizza with a knife and fork?— of being a man of the people, you're onto something. Just ask Farage.