Help! Like David Cameron, I am an addict

When it comes to enjoying a holiday with my children, I just can't help myself

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The Independent Online

Hello! My name is Stefano Hatfield and I have something to share with the group: I'm on holiday. I pretend I'm not: I don't put “I'm on holiday until September 1” on emails, I respond to work stuff, and I'm writing this, aren't I? Only I'm sitting by a pool in Southern Spain. So, shoot me.

I've tried to wean myself off an annual holiday with my children, because I recognise it's an addiction. But I can't help myself. It's wrong, I know, to want to spend a whole week focused on them; listening, laughing, cooking and eating together, maybe even trying to raise them before noon. Sometimes, in search of a cure for happy family time addiction, we try staycations. The dodgy weather, electronic gizmos and danger of people we know hoving into depressing view almost wean me off. Almost.

Just when I thought I was out, a friend pulls me back in. After 20 years, she should know better and look out for me more, but she asked me yet again to come and stay with her here, with families. Unlike many British holiday addicts, I've never been to southern Spain, in part because I feared it would feed my habit, but mostly because I'm an idiot. She's an addict too. Forget her as a sponsor.

Maybe I'll try David Cameron instead. I know it's surprising, but this old house in the hills has Wifi; faster Wifi than I get at home. I can also do something I can't in my London W1 office unless I hang out of the window: speak into my Vodafone iPhone and have someone else understand me. Who knew? I must tell Mr Cameron that. He gets bad signal in Polzeath. Can you switch to Vodafone Spain in England?

Maybe he should have come here. Rental villas are available because apparently the recession isn't over. He should talk to Spanish people to learn that. Because if he only chats to people in Polzeath, he might think it is.

Via our fab Wifi I see Mr Cameron taking flak for holidaying when there are crises in Iraq and Syria. I wonder when there is ever not a crisis upon which a Prime Minister should focus? The A&E scandal? GP mess? Bedroom tax shame? Passports fiasco? Free schools debacle? Gaza? Potential break-up of the United Kingdom? Nick Clegg in charge? It is the same every year.

Some people, more selfish than the PM's selfless journalist critics, view holiday “addiction” differently: a vital few days in which to reconnect with family and recharge mind and body. Foolishly, they believe that the more stressful the job, the better it is that the person doing it is mentally capable and physically fit. Some of those people nevertheless will still hate the way MPs rip us off over housing and staff allowances, and don't turn up for debates. They might even hate Tories. How confusing. If only they had the mental clarity of a newspaper leader writer.

Me? I'm off for another swim. Unlike the PM I'm still in denial. It's truly brave of him to be photographed in a wetsuit with a paddle board. I am not ready for such a public confession yet. Perhaps he should sponsor me after all.

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