This week as David Cameron sunned himself in Italy, Britain too has felt the heat. Sky News broadcast horrific reports of houses, livelihoods and communities engulfed in flames as opportunistic thugs torched London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
Yet while the UK struggled to cope with the violence and destruction on the street, our government ministers remained on their sun loungers abroad.
It took three days of the destruction of local landmarks in such places as Tottenham and Croydon for David Cameron to leave the Tuscan hills and make that all-important two-hour flight home to the UK.
Packing up earlier was Nick Clegg, followed by the Chancellor and Theresa May, though since returning the home secretary has only managed to look befuddled on camera and rule out taking decisive action. Blundering Boris, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen in London town.
Unsurprisingly, when the blond bombshell finally arrived, he was met with heckling. It is absurd, after all, that the mayor of the capital should sneak out and not return to his London home until three days of devastation on his doorstep.
Meanwhile, rather than dealing with the looting back home, Cameron was far more interested in tipping some impertinent waitress – I’m afraid she’s yesterday’s news now DC.
It beggars belief that a leader of the country can consciously send in his note of absence at a time when his presence could really make a difference.
What on earth is DC playing at? Is he playing at being Prime Minister? Cameron, don’t you know there is a bloody riot on?
Despite showing very little leadership, there is the very real possibility that if he had come sooner, at the outbreak of the ugly violence, he could have prevented some of it. If he had shown his face, perhaps the atmosphere of absolute lawlessnesss would have been lost; perhaps he could have given strength to those caught up in the crossfire.
One of the starkest and most bewildering discoveries of the riots is the behaviour of our MPs. It seems as if managing the country is an unfortunate accident to them. Our legislators seem cross that they have to cut short their travels to deal with the country’s latest crisis – that if a disaster occurs during their break it’s just tough, and someone else will have to deal with it. What they fail to see is that the nation doesn’t shut down for their holiday. Managing Britain is a full-time job, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Forget the 9-5, this is a job which requires you to be on call whenever you are needed.
Everyone, including MPs, would benefit from a break now and then, but this job comes with a very clear nota bene. Heading a government is a gruelling, time-consuming and all-encompassing role. Are you still up for it Cameron? Whether you like it or not, you have made yourself the man who must appear at any serious national event to be the voice of the country. You can't come home three days later and show off your tan to people whose houses have just been burnt down.
Perhaps you should take a tip from the man you replaced, Gordon Brown.
For all Brown’s many mistakes, he realised - unlike his predecessor Mr Blair - that cutting your holidays short was a part of the job. During the foot-and-mouth crisis, he came back a mere four hours after setting off with his family for a break in Dorset.
And when the banks went into meltdown mode (admittedly partly because of his policy decisions), he still came back and did his best to deal with it. When is Cameron going to realise that this is how it has to be?
To add insult to injury, the PM has swiftly announced that he’s heading back for a second holiday - as if to suggest that returning to deal with the riots was an inconvenience.
Frankly, if it's good enough for Gordon Brown, it's good enough for David Cameron and George Osborne. The PM and Chancellor need to ask themselves if these roles are what they really want. Like doctors, ministers should be on call at all times. Arriving three days after the capital and other major cities have been ransacked is utterly unacceptable.
We mustn't forget that it is not just Cameron and his Coalition pals who are slow off the mark. As one friend pointed out, where's Ed Miliband? Holidaying in Devon, he has missed his opportunity. With Cameron, May, Osborne and Johnson out of the country he had a chance to grab the microphone and speak to the people.
Our political leaders need to take time to reflect over the summer and decide if this job is right for them. Are they willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the nation?