THE BLOG
12/12/2013 09:32 GMT | Updated 10/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Barack Obama, David Cameron, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Their 'Selfie' Behaviour

If Obama, Cameron and Thorning -Schmidt were inspired to whip out their camera phones and start clicking away then why wasn't Naomi Campbell somewhere in that stadium, in full hair and make up, being held aloft in front of a wind machine by Bono and Charlize Theron?

I guess if you hold a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in a football stadium you're bound to get people attending who may not behave properly or be dressed correctly.

Some may take their tops off and dance around in the rain.

Others may boo and jeer their President Jacob Zuma (who's building his dream home whilst most of his country is mired in debt and poverty).

Someone may even turn up pretending to be a sign language interpreter but actually spend the whole afternoon doing little else than 'Vogueing', and also (and this seems to be most scandalous of all) others may whip out their camera phones and take a selfie to record the day for posterity.

The word selfie has been named by the Oxford Dictionary as 2013's 'word of the year' and it seems no one is immune to this social phenomenon. We are all holding our phones at arms length, raising our chins, pouting our lips and getting ready for our close up.

Everyone wants a piece of the action.

I am guilty of fiddling with my selfies about five times a day.

But when did this self absorbed and narcissistic behaviour spread from the blogger in his bathroom to Barrack Obama?

To be fair to Mr Obama, I have watched the footage and I've seen the photographs and I don't even think it was Obama's phone or arms that were taking that selfie.

I found it very interesting that Sky News immediately reported the President of the United States 'inappropriately' taking photographs with the blonde sat beside him (whilst a furious looking Michelle Obama seethed quietly).

And then I looked closer.

The blonde was the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and sat grinning beside her was David Cameron.

My initial reaction was to think of the geek, the cheerleader and the coolest kid in the school suddenly finding themselves sat together at a school assembly. Selfies are after all, more prevalent in the playground than on the world stage.

Sky News didn't even refer to Mr Cameron as being in the picture, preferring to put the blame on Barack and cast the blonde as the sole reason he'd reached out for a selfie.

They even asked viewers to 'tweet' their reaction to his scandalous behaviour, forgetting that the grinning buffoon to Thorning-Schmidt's right had probably found himself in a handful of selfies between Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks.

(Although only in private, never in the public domain or where anyone could eavesdrop on their conversations).

David Cameron has tried to offset the 'Selfie' blame to the family of the ex Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Speaking to MPs he said:

"When a member of the Kinnock family asked me for a photograph, I thought it was only polite to say yes."

(Thorning-Schmidt, the Social Democrat leader in Denmark, is married to former Labour leader Neil Kinnock's son, Stephen Kinnock).

There's still no word from Obama or Thorning-Schmidt on their 'selfish' behaviour.

So was it inappropriate?

I don't remember anyone doing it at Margaret Thatcher's funeral (although I'm sure Neil Kinnock would have loved to) and I didn't see the Queen doing it at the Olympics (although she was caught on camera looking desperately bored and picking at her nails when Team UK entered the stadium at the opening ceremony). Mandela's memorial seemed to be a day of celebration of his life rather than shrouded in the solemn hypocrisy of Thatcher's passing. There was no firing of canons or pompous grandiosity at Mandela's Memorial. The people that stood and danced in the rain were thankful for his life rather than mournful for his passing.

Is there any other (ex) world leader who would evoke such emotion? Who else would inspire such joy and frivolity that the Danish Prime Minister takes it upon herself to flirt outrageously with the most powerful man in the world and then take a snap shot of them both? (She'll probably photoshop Dave out of the picture later and post the picture on her Facebook wall).

Although it isn't the behaviour we'd expect from the people that run the world, we need to remember that every experience has its own relevance to our standing in life. We commoners and plebeians may find ourselves uploading photographs of holidays, days out and nights in with friends. World leaders and politicians prefer to pleasure their selfies at Memorial Services, State Funerals and Royal Garden Parties.

Although, I do have one question.

If Obama, Cameron and Thorning -Schmidt were inspired to whip out their camera phones and start clicking away then why wasn't Naomi Campbell somewhere in that stadium, in full hair and make up, being held aloft in front of a wind machine by Bono and Charlize Theron?

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