Monday, 25 May 2009

You've made your bed...

Interesting to see that in the bust-up over MPs' expenses, one member has been praised for her frugality, as she sometimes sleeps on a camp bed in her office. There's something rather penitential about the photograph of the MP sitting on a spartan fold-up bed.

The idea of plain and simple bedding for a higher purpose has very deep roots. There are spiritual retreats where people sleep on stone beds as a way of focusing their thoughts on higher matters and to shake off worldly pleasures. John Wesley was distrustful of beds that were too soft and pleasurable, wanting something starchier and more morally bracing. The camp bed, all function and no frills, modestly ready to be hidden away, is the perfect bed for such uncomfortable times.

Political leaders around the world, sensitive to this puritanical instinct, seem much happier to be seen to be exhausted and sleep deprived. They might be too tired to make any decent decisions, but at least it looks as though they're trying.

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