The Pitfalls of Political Parenthood
Like every morning, I rolled out of bed at around 7am this morning, sauntered off to the kitchen to throw on a pot of tea, and I flipped open my laptop (which I got for free BTW) to see what the latest BBC headlines were. I scanned through the usual stories, Europe in the grips of an economic crisis, Syria still under the thumb of a vicious and callous ruler and in the midst of civil war, and finally a story that I while I wouldn’t expect to make headlines, there it was; British PM Leaves Daughter at a Pub. The story wasn’t so gripping that I abandoned my whistling kettle, but it was intriguing enough for me not to click to another page. So after I had made myself a proper cup of Earl Grey and slathered my toast with way too much grape jelly, I finally sat down and scanned through the most ridiculous non-story I’ve read this week.
Apparently British Minister David Cameron had unknowingly abandoned his eight year old daughter in a country pub after the family had enjoyed a Sunday brunch. Nancy, Cameron’s eight year old, tottered off to the WC while the rest of the gang was outside busy piling into the family car. Apparently, Cameron was in one car with his army of armed guards and he assumed that his daughter was in the other car with the rest of the family. It wasn’t until the family arrived home that the little girl was missing. Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending! Once Cameron and his wife realized they were down one kidlet, they rang up the pub, and low and behold, little Nancy was there waiting for mum and dad. The whole ordeal lasted a total of fifteen minutes, which I’m sure will only equate into about two months of therapy for abandonment for the little tyke. Hopefully the Cameron’s take a stiff upper lift on this one, and treat it as a non-issue.
The thing is, this actually happened months ago? So why break the story now? Well, obviously Cameron has lost a few popularity points in the polls and nothing makes a politician look worse than painting them as a poor father figure. Like you’ve never left your kid somewhere and forgotten about them?! C’mon! I can think back to a handful of times my parents forgot about me in the supermarket aisle, lost me at an amusement park, or had forgotten to come pick me up at school. I remember once when my dad was supposed to come snag me from the airport when I was about thirteen years old after I had returned home from a high school seniors field trip. I waited at the airport for five hours before he realized that there was something he had forgotten to check off on his list!
Parents are busy, they’re human and they get preoccupied. Is it really necessary that the newspapers produce a nothing story about a political figure leaving his kid at a pub for less than half an hour? Of course it is! It’s brilliant really, isn’t it? The masses will read it, and David Cameron gets painted with a whole new brush. Okay, so maybe he won’t be getting any father-of-the year awards, but I just don’t think it’s really that big of a deal, and neither should the British public. Parenthood is difficult for everyone, even for high powered politicians with armies of child minders at their beck and call. Let’s stick to stories that really matter.