Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics


… is that the prime minister can take the train.

The tabloids are trying to turn this into a scandal, because the PM’s conspicuous red box of official papers seemed to be unguarded. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t. I won’t suggest that riding in the first-class carriage is exactly a recipe for inculcating modesty, but look at this photo

David Cameron working on the train

He looks so tired…

of David Cameron working while he travels. He looks more like a public servant than Barack Obama ever could, despite the fact that he is doing fundamentally the same job. And if the cost of that is that some important papers may be left temptingly out on the table occasionally, I think it’s well worth it.

Part of the cost may be maintaining a monarch, as well. I like to mock the notion of monarchy (as here and here) as inimical to democracy. I still think the idea of assigning important roles in society by heredity both ridiculous and pernicious. But there is a strong pragmatic argument on the other side that a constitutionally neutered monarchy keeps the atavistic and campy royal circuses away from the levers of power.

I’d say, far from being a scandal, this photo is one that Downing Street and the British people generally ought to be proud of. Even if he does seem to get a whole table and block of four seats to himself.

Comments on: "The advantage of having a queen…" (4)

  1. Martyn Blackburn said:

    It’s not like the box in question contains anything valuable. Politicians don’t run the economy, they ruin it!

    • I’m sure the PM has access to some pretty secret papers. And given the history of government officials leaving important documents and whole databases of personal information on trains, I’m glad someone has an eye on the red box.

      • Martyn Blackburn said:

        The budget is no secret to me. There’s nothing in that box except a waitrose shopping list and a bill for drunken vandalism and trashing a restaurant.

  2. […] recently commented — as I’m not the first to notice — that an important advantage of having a […]

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