Could you leave your child in the pub?
Of course you could. Just like David Cameron did.
Settle down, I’m not suggesting that he and Sam, or anyone else, would set forth thinking “I don’t give a fig about my kids, I’ll just leave them lying about like dropped gloves”. That would be ridiculous.
And, obviously, there are some bang-to-rights cases of parental negligence, but rarely among those who go for a £15-a-head carvery lunch in two cars. Negligent parents with several vehicles and a taste for roast beef probably wouldn’t have taken the children in the first place.
But back to the point. Of course you – or someone like you – could have left your child in the pub, by accident.
It seems that at least half of the adults in the country with access to social media have one anecdote or another of being left in the fish shop, gents outfitters, cafe or pram outside the bank.
I almost left Boy Two at a playgroup when he was tiny, walking out to my car with Boy One, oblivious. Not even a nagging sense of something missing. Another mum said: “Aren’t you taking the baby with you?” How we laughed about it.
Those unlucky enough to lack a day-my-mum-forgot-to-take-me-home saga made up for it by poking fun at a prime minister who was left looking like a prince of poor parenting. My favourite was Susan Calman on Twitter who said: “It’s my dream to be left in a pub and forgotten about. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d like David Cameron to be my dad.”
Obviously we need to take care of our children and not leave them in dangerous environments. D’oh. But, think about it, if you were in a menacing place then you’re not going to be relaxed enough to forget Tabatha or Timothy, are you? DC would hardly have left Nancy at a Labour Party Conference or a sink estate.
Clearly the mood would have been different if some misfortune befell Nancy. Then, apart from dealing with it himself, Cameron would have to cope with a tsunami of bile about his carelessness. Thankfully that didn’t happen, nor was it likely to.
The moral of this story with its happy ending is leave your high horse in the stable over everyday matters. Eight year olds can – and should – be able to go about (to the loo, for example) on their own. And nasty stuff, that would give this story a very different ending, is thankfully too rare to become something to keep us from relaxing enough to get careless.
PS I wouldn’t be surprised if the security types weren’t getting something of a bollocking. Vigilance is in their job description, isn’t it? Kind of like ability to come to the rescue is to firefighters.
Photography: Angie Garrett @Flickr