We are on day five or six of Kitchengate – I am losing count. But I must admit I cannot get enough of it and the reason is that a kitchen tells us a lot about a family. And it tells a lot about the man Miliband.

Miliband may have three kitchens, we do not know yet – high-level investigators are on the case. What we do know is what Miliband tells us about his ‘little kitchen’ and it is the following:

“I have only just been catching up with it. I think Justine would probably say she wishes I’d spend more time in the kitchen. The house we bought had a kitchen downstairs when we bought it. And it is not the one we use. We use the small one upstairs. This is the kitchen Justine and I use.”

There we are. This small kitchen is the kitchen ‘myself and Justine use.’ So what does this tell us about the man?

What it tells me is that the couple uses this sparse, small kitchen with not a muddy child’s welly boot in sight because the kids are not around when they are in the kitchen. And the children are not around when this modern professional couple chill out and cook in this kitchen because the boys are in bed by the time either of them gets home.

The downstairs kitchen, a source tells the Telegraph, is used by the live-in nanny and the kids.

Of course it is. The nanny must use that kitchen because she is the one spending time with the two Miliband boys, pulling off the muddy boots and taking their coats off when they get in from school. This is the bigger kitchen and she has to keep them in sight while she is making them their tea.

When Mum and Dad get home there is no need to use this kitchen, as the kids are either watching a bit of telly upstairs in the sitting room by the small ‘parent kitchen’ or in bed already. Hey presto- it all makes sense now.

If you want to know how the Milibands operate just watch Downton Abbey. Lady Mary and her widower brother-in-law chauffeur chap see their kids a couple of hours a day – perhaps an hour in morning and an hour before bed. Then the adults have their civilised dinner childfree.

The Milibands are upstairs while the nanny and the kids are downstairs. It all looks so familiar, does it not?

Now before you go all nuclear and think I am bitch for pointing out this reality let me explain. The only reason, the only reason at all, we are discussing any of this is because Miliband put it out there.

He put is wife and kids and modest-looking kitchen on show because he wants us to believe the following: he is family man with two boys so knows the pressures on the average working family. He also wants us to believe he is a man of modest tastes, hence the modest, smaller of the two kitchens he has put in the public sphere.

Miliband is being dishonest on both counts and it is perfectly legitimate to point this out. He does not get to see the kids that much, nor does he like other ‘working fathers out there now’ have to run back for bath time. That is fine – I don’t expect him to do that, but he should not set up scenario that would have us believe otherwise.

Secondly, he is not a man of the people with his modest kitchen. It is a modest kitchen, but when you have a choice of kitchens that rules you out of the man of the people bracket.

Miliband should fire the spin-doctors for attempting to pull this kind of stunt with the voters. We are not as dumb as he believes.

  • King Crimson

    An ‘ordinary’, ‘hard working person’ would not choose the modest/cheapest kitchen given the choice. ‘Ordinary’ people would fit the best kitchen they could afford: it’s just normal to do this.
    I know of no one in my circle who has a large house (and therefore, generally, a decent income) who hasn’t made the kitchen one of the features of their home. They know it adds value. They know friends and visitors will admire it. They know it will help sell the house. They know it is usually the hub of a family. They buy the best they can afford. Even friends with low incomes spend a good proportion of their income in improving their homes in this way. It’s just normal.
    Ed Miliband, by deliberately downplaying his standard of living, is doing nothing more than showing what he thinks is normal and getting it so wrong.

  • Anthea

    You have described the truth about this man’s dreary domestic self-portrait. I found the photo of Miliband and wife in the kitchenette really sad. It looked so sterile. Makes me really grateful for my shabby chic kitchen, that gets a LOT of use — 21 meals per week.

    Well done, Lady Laura.