Monday, February 22, 2010

Gordon Brown hit by fresh bullying allegations.

Anyone who has ever watched the BBC's brilliant political satire, The Thick of It, knows that politics is not a place for the faint hearted.

Websites have been devoted to the programmes more memorable quotes:

[knock on door]
Malcolm Tucker: Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off.

Glenn Cullen: This is a bucket of shit. If someone throws shit at us, we throw shit back at them. We start a shit fight. We throw so much shit back at them so they can't pick up shit, they can't throw shit, they can't DO shit.

Malcolm Tucker: Sam? Can you get me Terri Coverley and Glenn Cullen? Make them an appointment to come over? I think I got to shout at somebody, you know? Oh, actually, get me John at Culture on the phone, I think I'll have a bit of a shout now.
This is what makes the latest story about Gordon Brown such a blatant stitch up.

The cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, was tonight under pressure to launch a formal investigation into Gordon Brown's treatment of his staff after an anti-bullying helpline revealed it has received several complaints from people working at No 10. It follows publication by the Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley of hotly- disputed allegations about Brown mistreating staff, including assertions that he swore at staff, grabbed them by lapels and shouted at them.

Rawnsley also claimed O'Donnell had warned Brown to change his behaviour.

The Conservatives responded to the allegations by suggesting "there may have been a cover up at the heart of government over the prime minister's behaviour".

The National Anti-bullying Helpline charity went public after the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, flatly denied Rawnsley's claims, insisting that Brown was simply "demanding", "emotional, "and had a degree of impatience".

Christine Pratt, the helpline's director, said: "We are not suggesting he is a bully. What we are saying is there are people in his office working directly with him that have issues and concerns, and have contacted our helpline. We believe the present statement put out by Lord Mandelson is a nonsense and non-credible."

She said four staff had contacted the helpline, the last one only a few months ago. "I have personally taken a call from staff in the prime minister's office, staff who believe they are working in a bullying culture and that it has caused them some stress," she said.

Thatcher was famous for tearing strips out of her male colleagues and the right wing press would applaud her as "the only man in the cabinet" and demand that, if her colleagues couldn't stand the heat, then they should get out of the kitchen.

Why is there this blatant double standard when it comes to Brown? And why has this National Bullying Helpline decided to go public with it's claim that staff at Downing Street have been phoning them?

Well, a hint might be that Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe is it's patron and that David Cameron is quoted supporting their work on their website. Of course, Widdecombe insists that the charity is "utterly non-political".

However, government sources questioned the charity's credentials, suggesting it had made no contact with No 10 and operated only two doors away from the local Conservative party.

This is simply another way for the Tories to attack Brown whilst avoiding talking about any of their policies. It's a really cheap attack as one can only imagine what these same people would say if a biographer were to describe Thatcher as "a bully".

I can hear their snorts of derision already as they applaud her determination "to get things done" and her lack of time for niceties.

Related Articles:

Bullying row charity chief spoke to Tories.

Click here for full article.


Anonymous said...

Your comments about Widdicombe are hardly fair - she yesterday stated that these complaints should not have been made public as the complainants' privacy was assured by the charity.

Sill, when there's shit to be thrown what matter the truth?

Incidentally: "[the charity] operated only two doors away from the local Conservative party," ???

Blimey, who's two doors down from you? That sort of casual association is damn near totalitarian.

Kel said...

Yes, Widdecombe did complain that this should never have happened. It's a shame that she didn't make that point before the information was made public rather than after, when the damage had been done. I notice that Prof Cary Cooper has quit the charity in protest at this breach of confidentiality. Will Widdecombe do the same I wonder? It does appear as if she now wants to have her cake and eat it.

And the fact that they operate "two doors away from the local Conservative party" was a point made by "government sources" not myself.

The main point of the post however is that Thatcher's bullying, hectoring, style was seen as an indication of her strength. Why are so many Tories saying that this shows Brown as somehow unfit for the job? That's a blatant double standard.