Dave and Barack seem to have got on well – Cameron gave Obama a box of CDs of his favourite bands, including The Smiths, Radiohead, Gorillaz and Lily Allen when they met in Parliament.
Added to that, ABC news has picked up a conversation between the two of them about finding time in the diary to take off time off and think, claiming they were unaware they were being recorded.
It’s not quite a Yo Blair moment but it is an interesting insight:
"You should be on the beach," Cameron told Obama. "You need a break. Well, you need to be able to keep your head together."
"You’ve got to refresh yourself," agreed Obama.
"Do you have a break at all?" asked Cameron.
"I have not," said Obama. "I am going to take a week in August. But I
agree with you that somebody, somebody who had worked in the White
House who — not Clinton himself, but somebody who had been close to
the process — said that, should we be successful, that actually the
most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time
during the day when all you’re doing is thinking. And the biggest
mistake that a lot of these folks make is just feeling as if you have
to be — "
"These guys just chalk your diary up," said Cameron, referring to a packed schedule.
"Right," Obama said. "In 15 minute increments …"
"We call it the dentist’s waiting room," Cameron said. "You have to scrap that because you’ve got to have time."
"And, well, and you start making mistakes," Obama said, "or you lose
the big picture. Or you lose a sense of, I think you lose a feel– "
"Your feeling," interrupted Cameron. "And that is exactly what politics is all about. The judgment you bring to make decisions."
"That’s exactly right," Obama said. "And the truth is that we’ve got a
bunch of smart people, I think, who know ten times more than we do
about the specifics of the topics. And so if what you’re trying to do
is micromanage and solve everything then you end up being a dilettante
but you have to have enough knowledge to make good judgments about the
choices that are presented to you."
Last week Christina Lamb wrote an extensive feature for the Times on Cameron’s lifestyle, after following him around for a few days. He told her:
"I think you can be a good father, a good
prime minister and a good husband. It means being organised and having good
diary control. It must be possible, and if it isn’t, there is something
wrong with our system.
If part of your make-up is that you
want time with your family and need time to think and pause, if you give
that up and become a machine, you lose that balance, you get knackered and
you make bad decisions.
… I do
think [Brown] looks like he needs a holiday, because there are times when you
need to empty your head a bit and have time out."
Cameron is following the Reagan and Bush model in making sure politics
doesn’t completely take over his life and family – he rarely works on
Sundays for example – whereas Brown’s sleep-deprived working style is much closer to