There was a great deal of coverage in yesterday’s papers about the prime minister’s so-called “chillaxing”, details of which have emerged in an updated biography of Cameron to be published later this week.
The PM loves playing “Fruit Ninja” on his iPad, he takes breaks from the working day to watch DVDs in the Number 10 flat and he keeps an arrangement to have a regular “date night” with his wife.
Cameron’s perceived laziness enrages some of his backbenchers and gives Ed Miliband a credible way to attack him. For that reason, the PM felt obliged to deny his relaxed style in a briefing with journalists during the Nato summit in Chicago. He said:
It is an enormous privilege to do this job and it is rightly extremely demanding. It requires a huge dedication at work and I am completely dedicated to that.
But if you think the PM resents being depicted in this way, you would be wrong. He realises that being seen as an ordinary family man, willing to take time out of work to watch DVDs and spend time with his family, can only be a good thing, especially given the perception that he is out of touch with ordinary people’s lives.
What’s more his spinners know it too, and are happy to feed the story with further details, such as which TV series he enjoys.
This angers some in Number 10, who think he should be seen as working day and night to try and rescue the country’s faltering economy. But his media advisers think differently, describing such a mindset as the “obsession of the Westminster bubble”. They point out that the alternative is the example set by the last prime minister of a control-freak, micromanaging, workaholic. And that didn’t work out so well for Gordon Brown.