Ben Lowry: Bigwigs should realise that there is no holiday before retirement

Whatever the exact details of the failure of Dominic Raab re a phone call to Afghanistan, I have little sympathy for him.

Saturday, 21st August 2021, 12:09 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st August 2021, 1:58 pm
Foreign Secratary Dominic Raab at Downing Street on Friday, as he faces pressure to resign after it emerged a phone call requested by his officials to help interpreters flee Afghanistan was not made. He was holidaying on Crete when officials in his department suggested he "urgently" call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on August 13. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

OK, so he was on holiday.

OK, so this drama arose before anyone knew for sure that Kabul was about to fall.

But if you are the prime minister or hold any of the key offices of state, you have to work on the assumption that you will never get a guaranteed holiday.

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Of course you will get days off.

You might even be lucky and get the odd uninterrupted full week or two off. In such a post you will be under so much pressure that you will certainly need rest.

But you are always on call. Just always.

That should be clear to everyone from school age.

After all, even a child knows that those distant, authoritative figures, head teachers, are always on call. If something serious happens, they will emerge soon enough to sort it.

It is the same with newspaper editors. If September 11 happens or Princess Diana dies and you are on holiday, you will just have to end it.

Some foolish leaders seem not to realise this, like the former BP chief Tony Hayward, who said after the Horizon Oil Spill, ‘I want my life back’, or the Environment Agency chair Sir Philip Dilley, who holidayed in Barbados during the floods in the UK.

I think bigwigs deserve big pay and big status, if competent. But they must realise that there is no guaranteed holiday until they retire, to enjoy their riches.

Ben Lowry (@Benlowry2) is News Letter acting editor

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Ben Lowry

Acting Editor