Hypocrite Rawnsley

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I have no fixed opinion about Andrew Rawnsley, a Guardian writer, other than that he works for the Guardian, which rather positions him on the political spectrum. He gets a mention here because he recently repeated (The Guardian 11.08.19) a canard which is recently popular amongst remoaners and Labour politicians; referring to BoJo he said that the UK was being “driven down this perilous highway by a prime minister installed without reference to the country “.


This is both duplicitous and hypocritical, as Rawnsley (a highly intelligent man) knows. It is duplicitous because he is perfectly aware that Prime Ministers are not in their position as a result of a popular vote (the ‘country’), but he and his ilk use the expression because it supports a meme that Bojo has no authority to set and progress executive policy. It is a deceit, but one that plays well to those are ignorant of, or chose to ignore, the workings of UK politics.

With the exception of referenda, the populace at large vote for a local representative of a political party which has published a manifesto to which they on balance can subscribe to, not for a Prime Minister. There is no such vote. However, there is a well defined mechanism for appointing the holder of this office, and BoJo was elected by a majority of party MPs and then members of the Party which he represents. He holds office by virtue of having succeeded in a time honoured due process.

It is also appallingly hypocritical because Grumpy does not recall voting for Gordon Brown to be PM; that is because he was installed because he went through exactly the same process that installed BoJo in that role. In fact, he was elected unopposed; indeed, no Labour PM has ever been elected by party members. Blair was elected by the very same process in 1994.

In positing that there is something undemocratic in Johnson being Prime Minister without “reference to the country” Rawnsley knows full well this is a deceit and grossly dishonest as a piece of political comment.

However, he is merely exercising the norm for his trade. Political commentators, pundits and interviewers have the luxury of being able to level unfettered criticism at politicians and their policies, without ever having, as politicians have, the responsibility and burden of delivery. One might well invoke the words of Stanley Baldwin – “power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot through the ages”.