While the Guardian worried about quinoa, voters had something very positive to say about Labour

The Guardian logo over a photo of quinoa
Glen Black

The Guardian reported on 10 September that Labour is now viewed as “the party of quinoa and student protests”. But people on social media weren’t having any of it.

From pie to quinoa

Research by consultancy firm Britain Thinks surveyed voters in two marginal constituencies, Crewe and Thurrock, to understand what drives voter perception. The survey also asked 2,000 further people nationwide.

One question asked participants what food Labour would eat if it was a person. A common answer, the Guardian reports, was “fancy grain” quinoa. Speaking to the paper, Britain Thinks director Deborah Mattinson said:

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It was so striking that what people said to us was: Labour used to be working class, it used to be a pie and a pint – it’s now a protesting student. It used to be someone playing the bingo; now it’s someone going on a demo.

In the same study, the Conservatives were described as a “doctor, well educated” and would cook lamb shank on Come Dine With Me. But, as the Guardian mentioned at the end of its article, twice as many of those surveyed saw Labour as being “in touch with ordinary people”.

And users of Twitter have taken the Guardian to task over this apparent bias.

‘Increasingly ridiculous’

Some have picked up on what they see as a misinterpretation of data:

And others attempted to break down the idea that quinoa is inherently anti-working class:

One pointed out the conflicting accusations against Labour in the establishment press:

While many were prosaic in their criticism, seeing the piece as the Guardian taking a chance to have a pop at Labour:

The news didn’t put one person off, though. In fact they celebrated the news:

Meanwhile, UK-based pulse and grain producers Hodmedod’s took the opportunity to say domestically-grown quinoa is available:

It’s a seed

Quinoa has had associations with a middle-class hippie lifestyle since its popularity hit critical mass in the early 2010s. Its popularity with vegan and wholefood consumers became a point of contention. Technically a seed, quinoa’s popularity in the West has masked a number of ecological and social issues for its producers. As a result, quinoa is used to ridicule a sort of self-obsessed, uncaring, middle-class personality.

The Guardian’s attempt to lead the story with this connection simply hands Labour critics and the right yet another tool for criticism, even if it’s based on a shaky view of the data. But the public aren’t fooled by the narrative, and the Guardian isn’t getting away with it.

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Featured image via Pom² – Wikimedia

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Glen Black