Yes, that's right, our friends across the pond have a head of state who just took time off to spend time with his newborn. Cue American lefty social-welfare envy. But how is the habitually obnoxious British press taking this?
It turns out they don't seem to really give a shit.
British law entitles David Cameron to two weeks paid leave, which he cut a day or two short for an important meeting. (It's been an intense stretch in Cameron's life: his father died yesterday, his wife gave birth two weeks ago, and his first-born son, Ivan, died last year.)
Few British fathers actually take advantage of the privilege, since they fear being criticized or job repercussions. (In the U.S., only California offers paid paternity leave, for two weeks, though fathers can take up to twelve weeks unpaid under the Family and Medical Leave Act.)
But this is all part of a push for work-life policies and "new politics": Cameron and his rival-turned-deputy Nick Clegg even said they're going to schedule Cabinet meetings around being able to take their kids to school. Next year, a new act will allow the father to half of the remaining time left by their wives' maternity leave, six months out of a year.
And yet it's hard to find any of that sort of public criticism of Cameron. The harshest words of Cameron came, surprise, surprise, seem to have come from our own shores. Here's a (female) columnist from the conservative Washington Examiner sounding like a complete asshole:
Mr. Cameron seems absurd. For a newly elected political leader to relinquish power — to a competitor! - so as to hang about the house while his wife recovers from childbirth is not so much enlightened as frankly bizarre.
The British prime minister is a man whose job, after all, comes with drivers and cooks and household staff. Surely these individuals could plump Mrs. Cameron's pillows and fix porridge for the couple's two older children.
We all know that a father's true role is hanging around the house and plumping the pillows. Family values in the U.S. of A.!
Cameron To Take Paternity Leave [AFP]
David Cameron Loses "Inspirational" Father [Daily Mail]
British Prime Minister's Paternity Leave Sets Odd Example [Washington Examiner]
David Cameron, Nick Clegg Delay Cabinet To See Their Children [Daily Mail]
Will UK Prime Minister David Cameron Take Paternity Leave? [WSJ]