Silly season moaning.
The situation is almost exactly the same with whoever it is who deputises for the prime minister while he's away for a couple of weeks. John Prescott got it in the neck repeatedly simply because he wasn't Tony Blair and also from the usual suspects for being a working class idiot above his pay grade. This year it's Harriet Harman's turn, and it being the silly season and there being no real politics to write about, she's transformed by the Mail especially into a feminist harridan determined in just a week to strike a blow against the oppressive patriarchy. The evidence? She jokingly repeated her remarks that women would make better bankers than men (they couldn't be much worse), is daring to introduce lessons about relationships at the age of five which in the Mail becomes five-year-olds being indoctrinated in the ways of feminazism, and might have suggested that the proposals on reforms to the rape laws aren't tough enough. It's utter nonsense, but it fills the space and makes for a good front page splash.
The last person to deputise for the prime minister who was given anything even approaching respect was John Reid, who was praised for his handling of the "liquid bomb plot" raids while Blair was off sunning himself. Reid of course was the hard, unflappable and determined politician which the authoritarian tabloids especially love, at least until they decide that what was up must be brought back down to earth. As for Bob Ainsworth, attacked as much for his choice in facial hair as for his current performance as defence secretary, he's just the latest poor bastard to be cleaning up the mess which Reid himself left at defence, he being the one who told the world that he hoped the troops in Afghanistan would be able to return home from their mission without firing a single shot. We might get the politicians we deserve, but we get the media we deserve as well.