His ministers have been forced into a series of recent row-backs, and Prime Minister David Cameron, it transpired this week, is not immune. He was forced to U-turn in a panic when he realised he'd left his eight-year-old daughter Nancy at the pub after "chillaxing" with friends near his country residence Chequers.
The Camerons were back at the Plough Inn, near Aylesbury, on Sunday to warn staff that there might be a slight increase in interest in their place of work after the incident, which happened a few months ago, was reported in the press.
Yesterday, the small pub, where a sign warns: "No children at the bar" – not thought to be addressed specifically at Cameron – was quiet. The news doesn't seem to have caused a spike in sales so far, according to the landlord, who says that business has been slow.
The cynical might point out that, with his Chancellor George Osborne and his former rival Gordon Brown among those due to give evidence to Lord Leveson this week, the "distraction" is not such bad timing for Cameron.
"Don't worry, we all do it; he's just a normal guy," was the massage from Camp "Call me Dave" (10 Downing Street) – which confirmed the news this week.
"It is a very, very unfortunate incident, it was a shame but these things happen. My mum and dad used to leave me everywhere but I still found my way home," said landlord Steve Hollings yesterday. His pub, a small brick building, is tucked away in the Buckinghamshire countryside. It serves champagne for an austere £30-a-bottle, Italian wines go up to £29.50 and on the menu is salmon, which is, of course, known for travelling long distances for the sake of its young. The locals chill and indeed relax with a classic motorbike evening and live entertainment.
It is advertising for bar staff at the moment (although, there was no mention of childcare vacancies yesterday). The pub, which is among thick woods and accessible only via winding country roads, is the sort of quiet, pleasant place one can imagine a Prime Minister kicking back.
While Cameron's man-of-the-people mien feels as though it's been laid on with a (spin doctor's) trowel, he's one of many politicians who have sought to keep a semblance of normality in their very public private lives.
US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle famously head out on date nights as Obama seeks to avoid letting his position of "leader of the free world" interfere with his other: husband.
One of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's first acts as chef d'état was to head to a famous restaurant on the Avenue des Champs Elysées. And one of his last was to take refuge in a bar in the Basque country after he was roundly booed on a visit to Bayonne this spring.
And German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on the receiving end of an inadvertent attack when a waiter managed to pour five drinks down her back in a beer hall.
Few, however, can have brought their private lives into the public eye in such unmeasured fashion as Cameron, who was said by aides to be "distraught" when he realised that his daughter was left behind, after he and his wife dined with friends.
Still, if one is going to leave one's offspring in a boozer, one would be hard-pressed to find a better one than the Plough – and at least Nancy wasn't stuck in the beer garden in this weather.Reuse content