Psst. Hey you. Can you keep a secret? Get this: a page from David Cameron’s campaigning diary for the May 2015 General Election has been leaked. Leaked like the gravy from a Great British Bake Off pie. And, appropriately, it’s Greggs heavy.
Pasties and politics have a long history. But as early as 2004, the once happy relationship between policy and pastry began to sour and crumble (surely flake? – Ed.) Long time Scottish Labour politician Frank McAveety ended up without portfolio after missing questions in the Scottish parliament because he was too busy stuffing his chops with pies and beans and roast potatoes in a canteen instead of talking. Cast your mind back to the infamous pasty tax of 2012 and ‘Pastygate’, which followed soon after. ‘How dare the out-of-touch Tories tax pasties?!’ ranted the Media. George Osborne couldn’t remember the last time he ate one, and Cameron quickly stepped in, declaring he had recently eaten one in Leeds. But then we discovered that the particular outlet he cited had long since shutdown, the liar, and political culture as we know it went into meltdown. Nick Clegg faced embarrassing rebellion in Cornwall when a local party leaflet slammed their Coalition allies for suggesting the pasty tax, while Ed Miliband and Ed Balls rushed to a Greggs as soon as they could, so they could be seen cramming sausage rolls into their faces.
Fast forward to the now and next year’s election is looming. Pastries will surely be a key battleground, and already, reports are coming in that newcomers UKIP are taking early action. Nigel Farage has stationed officials in bakeries across the South, hoping to snatch up famished Tory MPs when they are at their hungriest and therefore weakest. Pubs are another warzone and here, Farage has further powers. If nothing else can be said about this divisive man, he certainly consumes alcohol convincingly. If he comes to any sort of power in May, expect the right wing papers to start referring to him as ‘the Landlord’ out of deference. But do a Google Image search for any of the three main party leaders plus the word ‘pint’ and you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities proving that pints, as well as pies, are considered weighty political tools.
Anyway, onto the promised timetable:
Conservative Party Headquarters – Campaigning Office – Official Eyes Only
Timetable for 17th of April 2015 – Southampton Tour Day 1
08:30 – Arrive in Southampton.
08:45 – Speech to electorate outside Civic Centre.
09:15 – Visit Greggs on East Street for two sausage rolls. Chat with electorate.
09:40 – Head to Greggs on Above Bar Street for a bean and cheese slice and a pie (flavour to be determined by public relations office no later than March 2015). Walkabout on Above Bar Street to chat with electorate.
10:30 – Begin ‘pub crawl’ and have a sip of pint in (moving South to North) – The Royal Oak, The Angel, The Rockstone, The Shooting Star, The Hobbit and The Bent Brief. Consume NO MORE than four pints. Make sure local press are stationed at all pubs and laugh heartily with landlords.
12:45 – Spot of lunch at Greggs on Portswood Road. One Cornish pasty, one iced bun and one Bakewell Tart. Chat with electorate.
13:05 – Vomit in bag in party car (if necessary).
14:00 – Cross the river and meet electorate outside Greggs in Antelope Park. One cheese roll, one slice of ham and pineapple pizza to be eaten.
14:45 – Take car to the centre of town, then Unilink bus to the University. Meet students, then take car to Shirley.
16:05 – Tour Shirley High Street and stop at Greggs for a samosa and three sausage rolls.
17:00 – Car back to London. Vomit in bag in party car or at services (if necessary).
See? Pies and pints and pies and pies. It won’t stop here. This is just the beginning. Fast forward another twenty years, and Greggs (which is spreading across the country like the logo-blue mould on bread) will no doubt be the dominant political force in British politics. Politicians will fight to be the first in line when the fresh bakes come out of the ovens. The managers of the branches of Greggs will form a third house at Westminster: the House of (Sandwich) Boards. Next, the FTSE will be replaced with PSTE 100 (an index of a hundred top pasty flavours). And finally, the House of Greggs will ascend to the throne, possibly lead by Mary Berry, and the United Kingdom will become a democrusty. Start buying flour and butter. Now.