I don't know when, exactly, using briefcases fell out of fashion, but I suspect it was sometime around the arrival of the cheap laptop computer. However, if you're not carting a laptop around with you then a briefcase is still a very useful way to transport documents, notes and even sandwiches.
And if you're in the sort of job where the documents you carry may be rather sensitive and important then there is even more reason for keeping them secure and out of sight. Especially, if you're in government.
What is up with these people? Are they so worried about looking "out of touch" that they prefer to wander around clutching confidential papers in their hand in front of TV cameras and reporters rather than risk being seen with a briefcase?
It's not as if they don't have lackeys they could hand the briefcase to if they can't handle the indignity of being seen with anything so practical - and it's not as if the government don't make these things available to them.
Or is it because they are simply careless?
The only reason they get caught like this - even after others have been caught making exactly the same mistake - is because they are careless. And if they are careless with something as simple as putting confidential papers out of sight, then you can bet they are every bit as careless with the way they draft legislation, form policy and spend our money.
It's a sound bet that anyone who can not take care with the simplest of things can not be trusted to take care of complex things and things that are important. That is, I am afraid to say, the plain and simple truth about our political class today.
Not only are they obsessed with style and appearance over substance and ability, they are incompetent and incapable.