Twitter is full of people saying that we shouldn’t be talking about David and Samantha Cameron leaving their 8 year old child behind in a pub. Not a big deal. There are much bigger issues like Syria and the economy that we should be talking about and this is a mere distraction. In fact, some suggest that it’s a deliberate distraction to take our minds of various top Tories’ forthcoming appearances at Leveson.
Do you know what? Our brains can take it. We can think of more one thing at a time. And it is a big deal that an 8 year old was left on her own in a pub or anywhere else when they were expecting to be going home with their family. The adults in the party outnumbered the children – there would have been David, Samantha and their protection officers and surely it wasn’t beyond the wit of them to check that all 3 children were accounted for.
Now, nothing went wrong. They were lucky. But they mucked up big time. I am absolutely disgusted with them. I would be saying exactly the same if it were Nick Clegg who had left one of his kids behind. It’s not funny. What if she’d gone outside on her own to look for her parents and been knocked down by a car? The possibilities are endless.
If I had done something so monumentally stupid, I would be absolutely mortified. It wouldn’t be all over the papers, but it would be a serious thing.
But just imagine if some unemployed single mother had left her child in a pub after lunch with her boyfriend. I am certain that the tabloid press would be ripping her to bits. It doesn’t matter who does it, what their background is, it’s utterly wrong and they should be ashamed of themselves. There are no excuses.
I’m not saying that any sort of action should be taken, but I think we are well within our rights to criticise the Camerons. To be fair, they are probably criticising themselves. The whole incident and reaction does show how as society we are so adult orientated, how we don’t see things from children’s point of view and how we justify extremely poor parenting practice. Look at “sleep training”, a euphemism for cruelty if ever there was one, as an example. There is no justification on any level for ever leaving a vulnerable human being in distress in my opinion, yet if your baby doesn’t sleep through the night at a very early age, your health visitor will tell you to leave him or her to cry it out on a like it or lump it basis. There are no alternatives offered. This latest study from Texas is the latest in a long line which indicate that this is harmful.
Now, Nancy Cameron came to no harm, her mortified parents will no doubt be waking up in a cold sweat for weeks thinking about what could have happened, and they’ll learn from the experience. That child will never be left anywhere again. However, we do our kids a disservice if we fail to recognise that this was a huge error. There’s nobody more prolific than David Cameron at preaching to others about taking responsibility for their actions, after all.