Monday, 22 February 2010

Bully for you

“We’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond.”

Gordon Brown claims that he’s never hit any of his staff. And he says it almost as if it’s the norm for some people to go around clouting their employees. What a compassionate leader we have. Mind you, I doubt Hitler ever hit any of his co-workers… although he probably got Goebbels to do it for him.

I’m afraid to say that there’s something about our Dear Leader that I’ve never liked. He always comes across with an insincere sickly demeanour when he’s being interviewed and knows he must be on his best behaviour, but I’ve seen him speak to rallies and trade unionists when a threatening stentorian menace comes into his voice and he sends a shiver down your spine. He wouldn’t break your fingers but one or two of the chaps around him might.

So it comes as no surprise to me that Christine Pratt, the chief executive of the National Bullying Helpline, claims four workers from the Prime Minister’s office have called for help as a response to their treatment by the Bone-cracker Brown. Ms Pratt doesn’t say whether the callers were secretaries, tea ladies or cabinet members but she is quite adamant that a culture of bullying existed in No 10.

The bullying claims have surfaced in a book written by political journalist Andrew Rawnsley who claims how volcanic and foul-mouthed eruptions of temper by the Prime Minister left Downing Street staff cowed and terrified. And just in case anyone is thinking that Rawnsley may be a stooge for David Cameron, the Tory Party leader, it’s important to point out that the journalist is very much ‘left of centre’ in his thinking. Sure he has a book to sell, but I doubt very much that he would make such claims unless his sources were 100% reliable. In fact, his political pedigree is what makes the story so believable and so disturbing.

Bullying is not a recent phenomenon but it does seem to have become more prevalent and more tolerated in recent years. When the leaders of one of the G8 nations is accused of workplace bullying then it’s probably time something was done to bring an end to such destructive and menacing work practices.


  1. To be honest I quite like him. Not the bullying if its true but I admire his passion and his outrage. Whats wrong with an odd outburst and occ swear word if you care deeply. Bullying NO but a serious politician with passion gets my vote over insincere smiles, sound bites and staged photo shoots. I never trusted Blair it was the 'eyes' and Cameron well he could easily be eaten for breakfast. Tough is not a word I would use to describe him !

  2. Anon: So it's okay, in your book, to be abusive to your subordinates because you "care deeply".

    One oik I worked for cared so deeply for the business that I put up with his passion only for so long. One day, he was so passionate about his work that he grabbed me by my tie, for which he received a swift knee to the bollocks. After that, he was a little less passionate about his work.

    Bullying is not a sign of "caring deeply" at all, it is a sign of inadequacy, insecurity and incomptence. None of us should have to put up with it, and bullies must, in every circumstance, be resisted. With a swift kick to the bollocks, if necessary.

  3. Wow Henry you're a little cross right now too. I actually said No to bullying twice in my post but did you read that bit? As of yet all accusations are hear say and I've not read any accusations of physical abuse or even verbal abuse just temper and as of yet we have no hard evidence. Unless you know different?

    I can almost imagine you shouting as you posted. Passion or temper?

  4. Apologies Henry one man with a book to sell did mention pushing and lapel pulling. Serialised in a newspaper. Motives ? And for the record I've never written a book ! :)

  5. Cameron will squeal like a little girl if Brown so much as glances at him!

  6. "I can almost imagine you shouting as you posted. Passion or temper?"

    Anon, it was barely a whisper...just ask my good friend Minnie Bannister. She says I'm the only person she knows who can "shout" without even raising my voice. As for temper, a man who can't control his own temper is a man completely out of control.

  7. He who loses his temper loses the argument.

    Bullying lies in the eye of the beholder, if you feel you've been bullied then you almost certainly have. There is no excuse for anyone bullying staff who can't reply without risking their jobs. As the old saying goes, the worst thing you can say about someone is that they can't keep a secretary.

  8. This has been blown up by the media but nevertheless it does seem important. The most telling thing is that the politicians are answering different questions. Gordon saying he's never hit staff, No 10 saying that he hadn't recieved a 'verbal warning' and that there had been no investigation ordered.

    I don't think the book said that he hit people, that he'd recieved a 'verbal warning' (which I think has some meaning in 'Human Relations-speak) or that an investigation had been ordered.

    I suspect that behind closed doors there is something of a witch-hunt going on to find and discretely move the sinners. Well not the sinners but those that reported the issue. They may even get promoted out of there - not that I'd have much hopes for their long term future. Gordon may not be much cop at running the country be he sure knows how to hold a grudge!

  9. Bully or not - the man is a menace - he has less skills using a calculator than I have (which is saying something) - why does he have a job indeed - any other "profession" he would have been sacked for ineptitude. As for wifey and hero stuff - please pass the bucket!

    now breathe and dismount!

    Best wishes ETM - any update on the leg?

    Greetings to all on the tickety counter from Cats' Mother

  10. Is that you Henry?
    Are you talking about the one and only 'Spotty Minnie Bannister'?