He may be on holidays, but the PM is still in charge

11 Aug

I’ve been a tad stunned by the reports over the past couple of weeks regarding who is in power with the Prime Minister on holidays and as a person who studied, trained and for a while practiced as a journalist, there are a number of issues that I feel are worth discussing. The headlines that have really surprised me revolve around Gordon Brown’s two Parliamentary lieutenants, Harriet Harmon and Lord Mandelson both having overlapping holidays, which allegedly meant that that there was no one in charge of the country for two whole days.

I’ve heard of media beat-ups before and I know the British media like to attack their own representatives constantly – just look at what they are doing to the English cricket team after their loss to Australia on Sunday (not that I’m complaining about that mind you). But to think that just because the Prime Minister is on holidays… in his own constituency… in the UK, there is no one in charge shows that it is actually the journalists who have gone on holidays.

When the PM was in Italy for the G8, he was still in charge. Just because Harriet Harman represented him at Prime Minister’s Questions, doesn’t mean she suddenly became PM. If there was an issue of national importance, Gordon Brown would undoubtedly be running the show.

The PM, much to Sarah Brown’s annoyance I’m sure, will still be flanked by advisers and will no doubt be spending a good deal of his ‘down time’ discussing policy, strategies and politics. A PM couldn’t just shut down even if he wanted to.

The Prime Minister is always in charge, that is what he was elected (or not in this case) to do. Pre Alexander Graham Bell, Bill Gates, telegraph communications and electricity, I could understand the argument, but not now.

However, mostly this is summer headline grabbing journalism and if this is what Mr Murdoch wants us to pay for online, I’ll pass thanks.

Cross posted with Ruder Finn UK Dot Comms

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