Belfast Telegraph

How rich David Cameron just managed to look really cheap

By Lindy McDowell

With most of the Westminster establishment frantically vying to establish man-of-the-people credentials, this week's faux pas by the holidaying Dave "I want to be like common people" Cameron doesn't just take the biscuit.

It takes three cappuccinos.

Mr Cameron, wife Samantha and a Downing Street aide (yup, even on holiday) had stopped for a coffee in a Tuscan café following a public walkabout at the start of their two-week break.

You could tell Dave knew there might be cameras present as he was dressed only one notch down from standard Number 10 formal. Black leather work shoes but no socks - the Prime Ministerial interpretation of smart/cas.

Anyway, he went into the café ordered three coffees and asked the girl to bring them outside.

I'm busy, she told him. Get them yourself. Mr Cameron (below) did as he was told.

But, and again this is telling because he would have known camera lenses were upon him, he didn't leave a tip.

The Right Honourable Scrooge of Chipping Norton.

Papers report that he paid with a crisp €50 note.

In some parts of Europe that would be enough these days to refloat the economy. He could surely have tossed a couple of cents into the tip plate on the counter. Let's face it, there's many a place in the world where espresso-gate would constitute a threat to diplomatic relations these days.

Fortunately the Tuscan waitressing community appears to see the funny side. The girl herself says she had no idea who Mr Cameron was. "I was rushing round, really busy so when he asked me to bring over the coffees I told him he would have to do it himself."

Those of us who back in some distant past served an apprenticeship at café/restaurant tables will know what it's like.

You're up to your oxters in orders. The last thing you need is some visiting head of state coming over all latte-da.

However, there may be a smidgeon of sympathy for Dave too.

We've all had that experience in an eaterie where some over-worked waiter (not our fault) snipes back that he or she hasn't got six pairs of hands you know.

Maybe the girl was pleasant. Maybe she was indeed brusque. The thing is she just missed out on the tip. Cameron missed out on a golden PR coup.

How impressive he'd have looked if he carried coffees out to a few other tables as well. Given the girl a handsome tip. Cleaned up the table after himself.

Big Society in action, Dave. They also serve who only stand and wait. For, let's not forget, this is a man so desperate to convince the rest of us that we're truly 'all in this together' that he booked a no-frills flight to Ibiza a couple of months back.

Does he think people are taken in by such stunts? His wife's holdall cost more than the price of the two return trips.

That's slumming it, Cameron style.

Now he's staying at a villa that costs the guts of 10 grand a week. For little more than the all-in price of his holiday you could buy an apartment in Dromore from NAMA.

Nobody begrudges the family Cameron a break.

But it would be nice if the rest of us could have a break too from the posturing of politicians (Cameron is far from being the only one) out to fake the common touch.

And you might also remember, Dave, that even on your hols you're still representing the country. Failing to leave a tip, even when miffed by service, just looks cheap.

Besides, given the amount you've forked out to Greece of late, what's another couple of euros?

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