Leading article: Take a break

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The Independent Online

Today is what is known in the travel business as changeover day.

After demonstratively working through the first half of August, the Prime Minister finally goes away. But there is no hint the pace will slacken. Nick Clegg will be back and already he has several public events scheduled for early next week.

The coalition clearly wants to show that it's hard at work. And if ordinary Britons are having to cut back on their holidays this year, well, so, our politicians are signalling, are they. Governing the country is a year-round job.

But is it? Everyone needs some R&R, and that includes the people from their politicians. The French know how to do these things. Their political classes knock off for August, arriving back, svelte and tanned, for the September rentrée. The rest of France manages perfectly well without them. Even those confined to Paris can bask on Paris-Plage. What with the Proms and the Edinburgh Festival, we can amuse ourselves quite well, too. Maybe next year our politicians will do themselves – and us – a favour, and risk taking August off.