If, however, his warning is heeded, it could pave the way for massive social change, improved productivity and lower rates of family break-up.
What was this sure –fire vote winner? He did not labour the point, but, when he noticed that half the members of the Labour front bench were fiddling with their Blackberries, I distinctly heard him tell them to put them away.
Praise the Lord! I’m not sure how we reached this lamentable state of affairs, but recently I have noticed that it has become acceptable in some circles to check emails, without explanation or excuse, in the middle of a conversation. In the last year, this has happened to me in several business meetings, lunches and breakfasts.
Today, Ed Balls, Peter Hain and other members of the front bench (pictured above) took the sort of rudeness normally confined to bankers and teenagers to new levels: by checking their emails – or maybe playing Poker for all I know – during Mr Cameron’s response to the Budget, they seemed to express disdain not only for the leader of the opposition, but also for the electorate, by giving the impression that they really weren’t that interested.
To be honest, I know how they felt; Darling did stand up for a long time in Budget speech terms and these things do tend to drag when you have sat through a few of them, and I have to admit that I jumped guiltily at Mr Cameron’s reproof, as I was doing exactly the same thing in the privacy of the Business Matters office. That is the crucial thing, though: checking one’s Blackberry obsessively is a vice best practiced in private.
However whilst Mr Cameron was able to get his point across in this work environment, the recent interview between The Cameron’s and Trevor McDonald had Samantha Cameron citing Dave’s most annoying trait as being that he never puts his BlackBerry down unless she tells him to!
Princess Diana famously said that there were three people in her marriage, and that was one too many. There is an electronic device too many in numerous modern marriages, and the consequences can be just as devastating.
Some men (and women) are already quite adept at multitasking their way through conversations that don’t interest them but the BlackBerry provides a horrible veneer of necessity for their rudeness and something that we must rally against and look to return to basics.