Cameron explains his outburst
On the eve of Fathers Day, fathers in Britain were stunned by Prime Minister, David Cameron, rather gauche side swipe at fathers.
Fathers Day was Sunday 19th June, but in an otherwise pro-family article written for the Telegraph headed “David Cameron: Dad’s gift to me was his optimism” everyone latched on to his phrase that “absent fathers were as bad as drink drivers.’
- “At the same time, I also think we need to make Britain a genuinely hostile place for fathers who go AWOL. It’s high time runaway dads were stigmatised, and the full force of shame was heaped upon them. They should be looked at like drink drivers, people who are beyond the pale. They need the message rammed home to them, from every part of our culture, that what they’re doing is wrong – that leaving single mothers, who do a heroic job against all odds, to fend for themselves simply isn’t acceptable.”
The Prime Minister’s praise for single mothers helps position him a world away from Tory critics who were accused of trying to stigmatise lone parents when the party was last in government, in the 1990s.
Cameron’s genuine admiraton for his own father, which should have rubbed off onto all fathers, was hopelessly sidelined.
Why did he have to have such a dig at fathers ? Who are these fathers who allegedly ‘go AWOL’ and more to the point how many are there ? We are not told this.
The article was trailedthe day berfore in “Runaway fathers are like drink-drivers, blasts David Cameron” (June 18th 2011) . 
The Canadian PM, for example, in hs Father’s Day message made no such silly errors (see Appendix).
The reposnse was immediate and universal in condemming Cameron’s ill- chosen words. Matt O’ ‘Conner began a humnger strike outside the Prime Minister’s private home in London.
The following is a copy of a letter received by Matt O’ ‘Conner from the Prime Minister:
STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA on Father’s Day
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Father’s Day:
“Father’s Day is a chance to say thank you to our fathers and to celebrate the role they play in our families. “Fathers take on various key roles including caregivers, teachers and role models. They are sources of strength for their families. And their devotion, values and morals act as a foundation that helps shape who we become.
“Fatherhood is a lifelong commitment that involves guiding children and youth as they overcome life’s hurdles and grow into remarkable individuals. This day is a chance to honour and celebrate paternal guidance, influence and support.
“As Canadians celebrate Father’s Day, Laureen and I encourage all families to pay tribute to the men who fill this role and to honour those no longer with us. We wish all fathers and their families health, happiness and every success in the coming year.”
NB. A Google search for Julia Gillard (the Australian PM) reveals no Father’s Day message was issued by her.