It's a thin line between 'normal' and 'eurrghh'

Poor smirking Tony Abbott. He's just a radio man adrift in a YouTube world
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The Independent Online

When it comes to embarrassing technology fails, we've all been there, surely. Who hasn't used a work email account to send hilarious messages to pals, accidentally copying in a colleague? Or tweeted something without thinking how it would be received? And included a photograph of their genitals in that tweet? Or blatantly laughed at a chronically ill lady while not realising that they're on camera at the time … No? Oh well, give it a while, you're only human after all.

These days, we like our politicians to be more human, apparently, and find it reassuring when they make the same little mistakes as the rest of us. Though they have to choose their mistakes carefully: being afraid of Romanians is endearing and wins votes in marginal constituencies, whereas inelegantly eating a bacon sandwich would be electoral suicide.

Several powerful men have fallen foul of technology recently. Ukip campaigners thought they were being really clever by encouraging people to respond to the Twitter meme #ImVotingUKIPBecause. The hashtag trended all right, with answers such as "I'm pretty sure that the fox that keeps taking a dump in my garden is a Bulgarian" and "Mr sheen left smears on my mirror and it says on the bottle that he's polish…" Still, it wasn't as humiliating a Twitter fail as when the US Congressman Anthony Weiner posted a photo of his namesake body part, thinking that he'd sent it in a private message. Doh!

Last week, the Premier League boss Richard Scudamore was also kicking himself after realising that referring to women as "gash" in emails read by his PA was quite embarrassing on the whole – especially when she leaked them to the press. Oops! He has kept his job, after an investigation found he is definitely not a sexist. He just sometimes sounds like a sexist, which is a completely different thing.

Much like the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who insists that he is not unsympathetic to those struggling under his spending cuts, despite being filmed winking and trying not to laugh during a radio phone-in when a chronically ill 67-year-old woman told him that she had been forced to work on a phone sex line to make ends meet. Poor Mr Abbott – he's not really to blame for what happened to his face when he heard the word "sex" and couldn't stop smirking. He's just a radio man in a YouTube world.

It's a good job we have leaders who are so human, because otherwise we might end up with people who either know how to communicate or don't have embarrassing opinions to hide, or both, then where would we be? We'd have someone like Julia Gillard as our PM, that's where. Hmm... Maybe if we all tweet her and plead, she might be persuaded to do the job. But only people who know how to tweet properly, OK? And definitely no naked selfies.