Much was made in the media this week about the front bench of the labour party (UK) all wearing purple during the announcement of the budget. However, remarkable though it was, it is not a totally new phenomenon. On a number of occasions in 2009 and even 2008 leading figures in the government have been seen wearing purple.
In fact, even in December 2008 Zoe Williams was writing about this in the Guardian – http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/dec/08/fashion-ties-purple-gordon-brown. Zoe points out that the latest trend for wearing purple by politicians was probably started by Michelle Obama who famously wore the colour in August 2008.
Perhaps the labour politicians believe that purple represesnts a third way, halfway between red and blue (the colours traditionally associated with the left and right of UK politics respectively). Or perhaps they feel that it gives the impression of power and establishes them as the rightful winners of the forthcoming election. Purple was the colour worn by emperors and senators of course. Whatever the rationale, it is surely not a coincidence.