… working sets a good example. I spot that with my children. They imitate. I was sitting on the sofa the other day, reading some files – some quite secret stuff, actually – and I turned round and there was Florence, aged less than two. She’d got next to me, got a bit of paper and a pen and was copying me.
David Cameron, When Glamour met David..., Oct 2012
That was our wonderful Prime Minister, answering the question “David, are you able to come up with a twee anecdote in which you reveal yourself to be simultaneously an attentive father and a mega-important alpha male, and which at the same time gets in a quick dig at the workshy?” And is he? Of course he is! Only Glamour have somehow got the questions mixed up, meaning it looks like he’s responding to this instead: “My childcare fees are astronomical and tax credits have been cut. Could you tell me more about your new commission looking into this?” Ha ha! As if!
To be fair, David does waffle on a bit about how “we’ve taken regulation too far” and how “we may be able to find ways of making [childcare] less expensive”. So presumably the Cameron’s nanny can be looking forward to a pay cut or replacement with someone less “needlessly” qualified, while the rest of us can forget about anything which covers our own shortfalls. Still, not to worry. Even if the price of sending your children to nursery remains higher than what you actually earn, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that you’re setting “a good example” to your kids by being an obedient economic unit.
Obviously this doesn’t apply to every case. For me, “work” doesn’t ever involve plonking myself on the sofa next to my kids in order to browse through top-secret files while they make dodgy copies in their Ben10 notebooks. To them, “Mummy going to work” is the same as “Mummy not being there”. And even when I am around I’m doing stuff like loading the dishwasher and emptying the dryer, neither of which counts as real “work” because I’m not being paid and it’s the kind of thing I’d still be doing even if I were on benefits. Presumably if I could afford a cleaner that would be good for work “modelling”. It would at least mean that next time my three-year-old toddles around with his ELC mop, I could see it as the start of an apprenticeship.
Actually, I’m being disingenuous. My five-year-old does, for reasons I can’t explain, have some understanding of what Mummy’s work is like. He once did an impression which involved him waving his arms around (to indicate typing) and saying “I check email … Everyone annoying … I go home now”. It was quite uncanny. And yes, I do hope that one day, he too can follow in my footsteps and go to an office and annoy/be annoyed by everyone. I don’t see it happening, though. By the time he is of working age, I can’t believe that all the jobs I’ve ever done won’t be outsourced. There won’t be any offices, just people who used to go to them earning next to nothing to do the same things from their rented bedsits, while an ever-richer minority remain in plush living rooms inspiring their toddlers with their important reading material.
Still, perhaps I’m being too harsh on David. He does at least start his one-hour talk to the ladies from Glamour on a positive, pro-women note:
Welcome. This is the first time we’ve had a public meeting in Number 10. Welcome to the room where Hugh Grant danced across the floor in Love Actually, although of course they filmed it somewhere else. As you can see, we’ve got this picture of Elizabeth I looking over us, which reminds us that things are better in Britain when women are in charge.
Really, David? Really? Does this mean you’re going to promote some women or, better still, actually resign so that a woman, any woman, can take your place? Because there’s nothing we like more than being patronised and perhaps the most patronising thing I can think of would be to allow a random woman be Prime Minister for a little bit. Just until there was anything important to be done, and so that she could have some time in that room where Hugh Grant once danced, except he didn’t because “they filmed it somewhere else” (the minute she discovered that she’d lose interest in the PM role anyhow).
Well, best be off. First of all to “calm down, dear”, and second because I’ve come up with a plan to pretend to be looking at top-secret important shit next time CBeebies is on. I’ll get a massive file with “REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT” written on it. But don’t worry, I know my own class and gender limitations – I’m just gonna hide my copy of Glamour behind it.