IF you’re a fan of light entertainment, chances are you’ll be familiar with Stanley Johnson.

The Prime Minister’s father has done the rounds on everything from I’m a Celebrity to The Real Marigold Hotel, Celebrity Hunted and Celebrity Gogglebox, becoming something of a celeb in his own right. Having Britain’s most divisive politician for a son obviously does wonders for your profile – not to mention your bank balance.

If anything, the persona 79-year-old Mr Johnson senior seems keen to cultivate is all about being more sensible and palatable than his eldest son. He voted Remain and purports to have a keen interest in the environment. An old-fashioned gentleman rather than a bulldozer/buffoon type, his willingness to pitch in and have a laugh with the young folks suggests a zest for life many older people will relate to. He even looks better than Boris: healthier, better groomed. Tidier hair. You can almost hear the chat in front rooms in Birmingham and Basingstoke. “I can’t stand Boris but I don’t mind the father.”

Read more: Johnson accused of hiding from Tory record after terror attack

Over the last week, however, the mask slipped and we saw something of the real Stanley Johnson. It wasn’t pretty. Boris is clearly more of a chip off the old block than we’d been encouraged to believe. Indeed, far from being the more palatable version of his son, Mr Johnson senior’s behaviour suggests he’s just as arrogant, snobbish and insulting, not to mention just as much of an exhibitionist.

Rather than keeping a dignified distance from his son’s election campaign, Johnson the elder has been a wince-inducing cheerleader. I thought we’d reached peak Stanley on Thursday when, as part of an eye-wateringly embarrassing stunt, he turned up with Michael Gove (and a camera crew) at the doors of Channel 4 demanding Mr Gove be allowed to speak at the leaders debate on climate change that his son couldn’t be bothered taking part in. Indeed, Stanley himself appeared more than ready to step in – you get the feeling the former Tory MEP believes he could and perhaps should have been a contender for PM. Channel 4 rightly held firm and allowed only party leaders to take part.

Next morning, Celebrity Stan really showed his true colours by suggesting ordinary people – surely those that watch his shows – are stupid. During an appearance on the Victoria Derbyshire programme, a viewer tweeted and called Boris Johnson “Pinocchio”, which is hardly the most controversial broadside of the election so far. Mr Johnson Senior replied: “That requires a degree of literacy which I think the Great British Public don’t necessary have,” adding “they couldn’t spell Pinocchio if they tried,” ranting that it was “absurd and wrong” for viewers to be allowed to call his son a liar.

One upshot of all this is that Mr Johnson senior equates spelling with intelligence. It also appears to be that on Planet Johnson it is okay for one to use one’s son to become a celebrity and take money from publicly-funded broadcasters making programmes for stupid people; that it is fine and dandy to go on another show watched by stupid people during an election campaign and wax lyrical about how wonderful one’s son the prime minister is.

Read more: Johnson accused of hiding from Tory record after terror attack

What’s clearly not acceptable to Daddy Johnson, however, is the great unwashed having a voice.

And here you have the ancient English upper-class principle of familial advantage playing out once again. Not to mention society’s shameful enabling of it.

Why is Stanley Johnson being given so many television appearances in the first place? Could it be because our influential institutions – the BBC among them – remain programmed to defer to the establishment nepotism which the Johnsons represent? Lest we forget the PM’s sister, Rachel, a journalist, is never off the telly either, while his brother, Jo, was until recently a government minister. What is it about their privilege, connections and pushy-ness that first attracted the media to the Johnson family, I wonder? Superior spelling?

How can we ridicule Donald Trump for installing his unelected daughter Ivanka at the heart of his administration, giving her carte blanche to cavort on the world stage, when the Johnsons are doing the same thing, only on smaller, more English scale?

The media played a significant role in the making of Boris Johnson, and as his picking and choosing of how and when he deigns to be interviewed and scrutinised during this election campaign highlights, parts of the media can’t seem to help themselves dancing to his tune.

Giving airtime to Stanley Johnson is just another example of this. It also reiterates how such blatant establishment nepotism continues to stab at the heart of our democracy. And yet we continue to let it happen.

In fact, we give them the knife.