What is cakeism?
"Cakeism" is a relatively new word in English dictionaries. It comes from the traditional English expression "to have one's cake and eat it" and refers to a wish to enjoy two desirable but incompatible alternatives. The full expression used to be used by parents to their children and meant that they had to choose between eating their slice of cake right now or keeping it for later: they could not do both.
The concept came to recent prominence politically during the negotiations concerning the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The full expression was used so often that commentators soon started referring to “cakeism” as a short-hand.
Examples of wider political usage are:
“He denies that there is any downside to his policies; his doctrine is one of cakeism.”
“You can't be the president's daughter when it suits you and an adviser at other times: this is cakeism.”
The idea has spread beyond politics as in the book review that stated:
“For me there is a sense of cakeism about the book - that the practices and thinking described are somehow both radical and traditional.”