It is unlikely that any national newspaper editor was in the office on Sunday to oversee the production of yesterday morning's papers.
Yet we can be sure that there will have been a series of telephone calls through the day to monitor progress – with the duty editor before morning conference, update chats with the newsdesk, discussions about picture choices through the afternoon, thoughts about the splash heading come the evening. They may even have been looking at the paper through a remote online connection and be emailing thoughts about every page as it developed.
It's quite simple these days to run the show from a distance. Unless, it seems, you happen to be the Prime Minister. In which case you clearly have no access to telephone, internet, homing pigeon or cleft stick.
Journalists have to work on bank holidays – even, thanks to Rupert Murdoch and the Wapping revolution, on Christmas Day. It is not a popular shift. Maybe this has something to do with newspapers' churlishness when anyone in the public eye dares to imagine that they are off duty.
The paparazzi were ahead of this game and Diana, of course, was the universal target. OK, she knew she would be snapped when she was walking out from the Chelsea Harbour Club, bottle of water in one hand, mobile and keys in the other. But as a mother, she didn't want the young princes harassed and so the Waleses made a pact with the devil in the 80s. The family would pose for photographs at the start of their holiday if they could then be left alone.
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
It wasn't. It just established an awful tradition. Before too long, politicians were also submitting to the First Day of the Holidays photocall. Yet the paps kept snooping with their long lenses and found that they now had a market not only for a topless princess, but also for unflattering pictures of Cherie Blair's backside.
Tony's penchant for exotic freebies brought the next development: the annual roundup of where MPs were to spend their summer holidays. While the rest of us browsed through package tour brochures or planned the usual camping trip to Norfolk, ministerial aides would be poring over maps to find a destination that would send the right message. Never mind 'getting away from it all with the family', the holiday decision had become a political statement. And it was always wrong. (Unless you were Margaret Beckett, who was first teased, but later applauded for sticking with her caravan.)
In 2008 Gordon Brown and his family went to Southwold for a couple of weeks. They strolled on the beach, did the maize maze and visited Dingly Dell Pork. But it didn't really seem Gordon's kind of thing – perhaps the business suit was the giveaway. We later learned from Andrew Rawnsley's biography that the holiday had been Sarah's idea, to show that our dour man-of-the-Manse prime minister was in touch with Middle England. Really?
By now the holiday charabanc was veering out of control and we poor readers were to be subjected to a bronzed barebacked Putin riding bareback, Nicolas and Carla frolicking on the shoreline and Angela Merkel hill-walking. We have also, incidentally, seen the designs all these people choose for their Christmas cards.
Do we need to know any of this stuff? Isn't it time to give the people who run the world a break?
And so to Dave. Whatever you think of him as a prime minister, he hasn't had much luck with his holidays. He's constantly mocked for being an out-of-touch toff, but then we jeer when he queues for a Ryanair flight.
His holiday wardrobe is scrutinised and his liking for navy blue T-shirts dissected – along, of course with Sam's outfits. Where would we have been if the Daily Mail hadn't been on hand in Cornwall last August to tell us:
The Prime Minister's wife wore a coat to keep warm as the sun failed to make an appearance for the August bank holiday
Yesterday the paper's fashion focus was on footwear – Dave got it right for once with his flipflops while Sam chose strappy sandals over the white Birkenstocks she wore when they were in Ibiza a couple of years back. But the sartorial appraisals were a sideshow. The main issue was should the Prime Minister be in Ibiza at all, given the terrorism crisis – there's that word again – at home.
One person had no doubt on that one:
With UK on terror alert, Cameron off on holiday in Ibiza. Unbelievable.
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) May 25, 2013
The Sun took a similar view in its splash:
David Cameron sips coffee on a carefree holiday in Ibiza – while back home the grieving family of soldier Lee Rigby visits his murder scene.
The PM and wife sam relaxed at a beach-front bar on the Spanish isle yesterday.
In stark contrast, Lee's estranged wife Rebecca – mother of his two year old son Jack – wept as she clutched a Peppa Pig cuddly toy with a t-shirt proclaiming: 'Daddy's little buddy.'
The report goes on to quote one Labour MP – John Mann – and a couple of tweeters saying how outrageous it was that Cameron was not at work.
Melissa Kite went further on the Guardian website with a piece headlined:
David Cameron's relaxation may be his downfall – The prime minister's sunshine holiday at a time of national crisis can only add to the Tory right's simmering resentment.
Let us assume it is unfair to attack the Prime Minister for being out of touch because he can afford to take a family of five on a half-term foreign break. What really niggles is the rest of their explanation. It was all right for the PM to go on holiday days after Lee Rigby was murdered, the aides argued, because Cameron "had urged everyone to carry on as normal".
To my mind, there is something vaguely distasteful about this. Downing Street should not be trying to make a virtue of a trip that really has nothing to recommend it apart from personal enjoyment. A still more potent puzzler is why Cameron is able to chill out on a beach this week. It seems that no matter what happens, be it European Union revolts or terror attacks, the briefing from No 10 is always the same: "The prime minister is relaxed."
So we don't want a Prime Minister who is able to relax? Much better to have someone who is a bundle of nerves and can't sleep for worrying about the economy, Europe, gay marriage, let along the thought of a new terrorist threat?
In common with the Sun and the Mirror, the Telegraph splashed on Cameron being under fire – but from a different angle: for prematurely visiting MI5 to praise spies for their efforts, though it linked Woolwich and Ibiza for its front page illustration.
The Times, Express and Independent all reported that the Camerons were on holiday, that Dave was still 'in charge', and all carried the obligatory note of disdain from at least one Labour MP. John Mann found voice in the Mail, Sun, Times and Telegraph, while Sarah Champion had her say in the Mail and Express.
The one person quoted in every paper was Nadine Dorries, the 'celebrity' Tory who has recently been allowed back in from the jungle. It was ridiculous to condemn the Prime Minister for taking time off, she said. "I actually want him to be refreshed. We have got the internet, we've got mobile phones. I think he is entitled to a holiday.'
It comes to something when Nadine Dorries shines out as a beacon of common sense.
For heaven's sake. David Cameron is the father of three young children. When they are on holiday from school, they need him to be around as much as possible.
I want to know that there are people in control of the country. And I feel happier to know that the top man is away but contactable than I am seeing the likes of John Prescott and Peter Mandelson rushing around shouting 'I'm in charge' like Bruce Forsyth.
I do not need to know where the Prime Minister takes his family on holiday – unless it is in Assad's palace or on Patpong road. Nor do I care how many ministers are reluctantly supporting the British tourist industry. And I certainly don't need to see pictures, whether papped or posed.
Just give us all a break.
Just give us all a break.