THE Political Studies Association is a 70-year-old charity which aims to ‘develop and promote the global study of politics’. Its mission statement to ‘encourage education and the advancement of learning’ sounds outward-looking and politically neutral. However, at the Association’s glitzy annual awards ceremony this week the honours went only to politicians having a particular perspective.
The first clue is the political persuasion of the warm-up act, an omnipresent writer and broadcaster who used to supply the jokes with which Ed Miliband knocked ’em dead.
The same connecting thread, which soon will be apparent, was evident at last year’s PSA awards. In 2018 the Association’s Politician of the Year was David Lammy – yes, really – for ‘continuing to speak powerfully on the Grenfell Tower fire, the Windrush scandal and Brexit’.
Lammy’s ‘speaking powerfully’ on Grenfell included the unfounded allegation that the official death count was a cover-up and his racial deriding of the judge appointed to lead the inquiry for being a ‘white upper-middle-class man who I suspect has never, ever visited a tower-block housing estate’.
Last year Lammy also complained that ‘we have allowed a shrill, pernicious, nasty Little England mentality to seep into the mainstream’ – just one of the loopy Leftist laments from 2018 with which David so impressed the judges.
Alongside Lammy in last year’s winners’ enclosure, adding the PSA’s Parliamentarian of the Year for 2018 to his Légion d’honneur, was Dominic Grieve, chosen for the ‘effective and astute way he has used the parliamentary route and procedure’. That was the favourable opinion of the judges; 17.4million others have taken a dimmer view of Grieve’s chicanery and how he has fought to frustrate the democratic decision to leave the EU.
In addition to Brexit-blocking Grieve, last year’s PSA award for International Recognition predictably went to Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, who cannot believe his luck that Britain is awash with useful idiots. It therefore is no surprise that for 2019 the PSA has given the International award to the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Apart from his willingness to be the EU’s patsy regarding arrangements for the Irish border, Varadkar ‘impressed and inspired’ the PSA judges ‘by representing and upholding the principles of diversity and inclusion in public life’. In other words, the award is partly for Leo being openly homosexual.
The PSA’s Campaigner of the Year for 2019 is Sir David Attenborough for ‘his determined campaign to raise awareness of humanity’s impact on the planet and its natural environment’.
The whispering Malthusian shares this year’s campaigning award with the middle-class misanthropes of Extinction Rebellion, hailed for ‘the phenomenal impact the campaign has had over the last twelve months’.
Evidently the PSA’s judges were not amongst those early-morning commuters at Canning Town station who last month were less impressed by the ‘phenomenal impact’ of Extinction Rebellion and responded with some direct action of their own.
This week the PSA also rewarded Political Courage, although the judges appear to have an idiosyncratic definition. LibDem recruit Luciana Berger undoubtedly suffered what the judging panel calls ‘sustained anti-Semitic abuse’ within the Labour Party; it is harder to muster sympathy for what the Association says are ‘attacks on her political views’, which surely are fair game.
Nonetheless, Ms Berger certainly is more deserving than her co-recipient. Berger’s commendation for ‘political courage’ is devalued by sharing the accolade with, ahem, Anna Soubry. Bananas Anna was nominated for ‘her courage and commitment as a parliamentarian, upholding her values in the face of tough personal and professional decisions’.
Earlier this year both Berger and Soubry left the parties for which they were elected, and each repudiated the manifesto commitment to implement Brexit upon which they had stood. Yet these turncoat MPs, acclaimed by the PSA for their ‘political courage’, lacked the bravery to risk an electoral endorsement of their decision.
It gets worse. For 2019 the PSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award has gone to outgoing Speaker John Bercow for his ‘advocacy and hard work both in Parliament and its processes’.
Perhaps Bigsie Bercow also deserves to share the title of Parliamentarian of the Year, which for 2019 is Hilary Benn. It was because Speaker Bercow indulged the Commons’ Brexit-blockers, allowing them to control the parliamentary agenda, that the PSA now honours Hilary Benn for his ‘tenacity which led to the outlawing of a no-deal Brexit, through the passing of the law to which he put his name’.
That ‘Surrender Act’ compelled Boris to seek the latest extension of the negotiating period; unsurprisingly, therefore, a brazen backer of Benn’s Bill has become the PSA’s Politician of the Year for 2019. David Gauke certainly got into the anti-Brexit spirit of the evening: the erstwhile cabinet minister used the event to challenge the Conservative candidate who has replaced him in South West Hertfordshire, announcing that he will defend the seat by standing as an Independent.
Gauke has since gone on to assert that a majority for Boris Johnson will be a ‘bad outcome for the country’.
Furthermore, for reasons unknown Gauke is ‘impressed by Jo Swinson’ and urges ‘long-standing Conservative supporters . . . to lend their support to the Liberal Democrats’.
The chump actually desires the stasis of another hung parliament. He presumes that continued gridlock at Westminster will inexorably lead to a ‘confirmatory referendum on Boris Johnson’s deal’, Gauke’s comical complaint being that BoJo’s compromise agreement threatens ‘a harder Brexit than was promised to the British people in 2016’.
If only. Sadly, David Gauke’s anti-Brexit bilge is lapped up by the Left. It also wins awards from the supposedly impartial Political Studies Association, ostensibly granted charitable status to promote education and learning.
The full press release of 2019’s Leftie Love-in for Rabid Remainers can be read here.