Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Prime Ministers need to have a life
Some of the criticism of David Cameron these days - and believe me, I'm one of the critics - is spectacularly wrong-headed.
Right-wing critics of the Prime Minister are developing a significant narrative that he's basically too wedded to being normal. That's right, you read that correctly. He has preserved the idea of a 'date night' with his wife (above). He plays Fruit Ninja on his iPad. He likes to watch a DVD and play snooker.
Wow. I'm scandalised. And one day the Prime Minister's rather cavalier acquaintance with policy detail may do him enormous damage. But I would have said that having a nap and having a glass of wine with dinner was more likely to help him do his job, not hinder him.
Mrs Thatcher, who famously said she needed only four hours sleep a night, has done us a great disservice in this regard. We have forgotten the entreaties of Denis Healey, Defence Secretary between 1964 and 1970 and Chancellor between 1974 and 1979: that politicians must have a 'hinterland'. In Healey's case it was photography. Harold Macmillan famously read Trollope, and was probably all the better a national leader for it. Attlee loved the cricket. Churchill's ultimately successful wartime Premiership reads like one long boozathon compared to this lot.
'Dave' should ignore the Daily Mail and continue to live his life as if it means more than his Ministerial Red Boxes. The office will be gone soon: his wife and children won't. And he'll be a better Prime Minister with a bit of chillaxing thrown in anyway.
I would prefer our leaders to have a hinterland, get some rest and to have a life. Wouldn't you?