It could possibly go down in history as one of his most embarrassing moments in office. That, along with the time he and his wife, Samantha, drove off home without realising that their daughter was not with them, but rather left behind at the pub. Poor Cameron, it’s not fun being made a laughing stock. Though I’m quite sure that someone would have warned him that it was part of the prime ministerial job description.
Leaving his distinctive red, ministerial box, full of official documents and potential state secrets, in full view on a train table, with the key still inside the lock, will be remembered for quite some time. Never mind the fact that Cameron was just a few steps away at the buffet car or that his official security people were watching over his stuff. We can all picture Bourne Identity style scenes as rogue spies swoop in to whisk away said briefcase, while bumbling officials sip coffee or check their Twitter pages. Even the guy who snapped the photograph and ran to the tabloids could have been a dodgy opportunist.
Oh the perils of parenting flaws or major gaffes in the public eye! We mere, ordinary mortals do not run the risk of having the times we left our Mastercard in a store card machine or let our toddler run amok in a shopping centre (ahem!) plastered across the Daily Mirror. I, for one, am immeasurably glad to be rather incognito in such circumstances.
So why are we so unwilling to cut him some slack or to downplay such incidents? He’s only human, surely we all make errors? Do these blunders really matter all that much? Or do they demonstrate the height of irresponsibility?
The general consensus appears to be that it matters because of his position. He’s the Prime Minister, the highest role in government. The overriding issue raised is that if Cameron is not so conscientious in areas pertaining to his family or state documents, how seriously does he take the job of running the country? Perhaps that’s an unfair assertion, but at the very least, Cameron should have pocketed the key before wandering off to buy coffee. Those on the Opposition benches will definitely be having a field day in Parliament over this story for the next few days. [Although Downing Street has denied any wrongdoing on the Prime Minister’s part, surely there should be more secure protocols in place regarding the transportation of official documents?]
The incident highlights how we often love to gloat over others’ mistakes or make jibes about their misjudgements. In an age of savvy smartphone snaps, which can be instantly uploaded to Instagram or any interested news outlets, every faux pas can be recorded and shared. It must make those in public office particularly uncomfortable. Their every move or slip up may become viral hits across social media sites or front page news within hours. And yet we forget that our every move is also being viewed and recorded. Not by the latest technological gizmo, but rather by our heavenly Father, who sees all that do and even knows all that we think. The tabloids may not show the slightest interest in our escapades, unless we hold an important position, but God is aware of, and is interested in, all that goes on in our lives – from the greatest to the least. In terms of high or low positions in society, it makes no difference to Him; we’re all on his radar, all the time. Both the good and the bad (and the plain stupid) things that we engage in matter to Him; they don’t go unnoticed. Before we’re swift to mock, I’m reminded that I,too, have made innumerable blunders or indiscretions. And I’m thankful that, despite my imperfections, I’m still valuable in God’s eyes. (See Psalm 139 for more on this.)