I have to admit that I admire Nick Clegg for taking yesterday off to be with his family. It is a lesson in showing how to cope with stress. One of the things that has been concerning me for years is the way that people in work are subjected to more and more pressure. Pressure to achieve and perform, whether it be to meet targets or just through sheer volume of work. A number of years ago in a study leave project, I looked at the whole problem of stress and burnout in clergy. Many of the same issues apply to lay people and one of the most important coping strategies is the concept of taking time out. It always amused me that the whole idea of a sabbath day as a time of rest was one which ministers were rarely able to achieve. In fact, local ministers and local MPs are similar in that each is a kind of known figure in the area, so time off becomes difficult to find.
The strange thing is that stress is necessary to some extent so that potential and effective methods can be reached. It is all about managing the balance between healthy working and potential burnout. I really hope for a world of political balance, where true values are axiomatic. And that is something which has been sadly missing in politics for a long time.