Sunday, February 21, 2010

Does Gordon Brown's violence matter?

Today's media is dominated by revelations in a book by Andrew Rawnsley, claiming that Gordon Brown has inflicted violence on civil servants working for him. These 'revelations' are very important, and cannot be dismissed in the light hearted way that underpinned Labour's rebuttal strategy today. The vehemence of Labour's spin operation today demonstrates just how seriously they take this. Their problem is that Rawnsley is a much respected journalist who convincingly says "I haven't won awards for journalism by making things up". And after all the dismissive assurances from Lord Mandelson (who claims to have taken his punishment like a man) and others, we now have Christine Pratt, head of an anti-bullying charity going public that several members of Gordon Brown's staff have been using the charity's Help Line. Another problem here is that all those people who are inclined to believe Andrew Rawnsley and Christine Pratt will logically be disbelieving Lord Mandelson.

But my question is "Does it matter that our Prime Minister could be a bullying thug"? Do the people of Britain care? Do they care if our politicians get so plastered that they are thrown out of nightclubs and fall down the stairs, and then assault the paramedic who comes to administer medical help? Does it matter if MPs sneak away on Mediterranean cruises while letting their constituents think they are working in the House of Commons? Does it matter that large donations are not properly declared? Does it matter if MPs earn a bit extra by writing salacious material for what many would think a pornographic newspaper? Have we reached the stage where public expectation of politicians is so low, that behaviour that would lead to condemnation, even dismissal in many occupations is tolerated in politicians? Actually I think it does matter. Politicians who have done these things have brought politics into disrepute, and have turned many people (especially young people) away from voting altogether. Its time for a fight back. Not some great moral crusade - just an expectation of reasonable behaviour.

I reckon that if voters knew the truth, the perpetrators would never be elected. As with MP's expenses, transparency is key. We depend on the media to keep us informed. Media that does not report this sort of behaviour becomes an extension of the deception. I sense that 'Expensesgate' has led much of the media to re-assess its policy of conspiring to deceive through silence. We have a General Election coming up. For the sake of our democracy, let the people know.


john said...

Totally agree with you, Glyn. None of us are perfect, but there are certain things in professional life which are unacceptable - bullying being just one of them ( I heard a horrific story only this afternoon of severe bullying by an A.M. cabinet member). It is right and proper that this kind of thing is brought into the public arena and somewhat pathetic that Mandelson and his ilk repudiate it - I guess that's what people like him have to do but, even so, any sensible human being can see through that - I hope!

Anonymous said...

Who was it that employed that despicable person Damien McBride as his right hand man?

bonetired said...

Glyn: it does matter and matters big. The vast majority of people do not have the responsibility of the PM - literally over life and death as far as the people in the forces are concerned. Although I have some reservations about the lady from the anti-bullying charity going public (she should have kept her client's confidentiality), I feel that this story has been kicking around for so long and from many sources (the Nokia jokes have been especially frequent) that there almost certainly an element of truth (interestingly that the denials are for things that Andrew Rawnsley did NOT accuse the PM of - there is a very careful use of language there).

Apart from the fact that if any other employer behaved in the same way as Brown is accused of doing the employee would be on to personnel or their union before the phoe actually cooled.

It does bring into sharp focus Brown's personality and his suitability for the job of PM. If he can't treat his own people well, what hope is there for the rest of us?

B G said...

It does matter a lot that we have someone who's a bit unstable as PM at the moment. As my girlfriend said watching tonight's BBC news - That Gordon Brown looks a right nutter.

Anonymous said...

"In a state-of-war it's results that count."

Only applies if the statement is true and we are in a state of war.

If the statement is true should the state of war be generally known by the population?

We are at war on several fronts, just that few realize it yet, so the answer is not clear-cut.

One solution is to render the whole issue moot.

If Gordon Brown can focus on job creation in the private sector - the public won't, as a whole, careless if he bullies staffers at 10 Downing Street.

The real question here is what is David Cameron doing?

While Brown is in a fury, private educated elitist Cameron is promising bank shares for all.

Cameron has to connect with the people of the UK, which includes ordinary men/women who are not in the elite bracket and never attended a private school in their lives. It is those voters willing to switch their voting power to DC, but to do so they must believe in DC; believe that he is offering credible solutions not Mickey Mouse pathetically immature stupid giveaways like offering bank shares for all. All this has done is cause many folks to pause and think maybe DC is full of the brown as in smelly brown stuff.

This is the crucial issue: DC will bleed support unless he focuses on the one thing that matters now: JOBS*JOBS*JOBS*JOBS.

The party that comes up with believable solutions - is the party that can win and win decisively.

Right now DC is not focusing on solutions and ‘crazy or what’ neither are the Welsh Conservatives.

I don't know who is behind the Welsh Conservative job-creation issue, but right now that person or persons should be replaced - with gusto please. For the sake of Wales. GO!

JB said...


From That right wing journal The Guardian...

The claim of routine bullying was today backed up a senior former adviser to Brown in No 10, who told the Guardian: "His intense bouts of anger are unremarkable to anyone who has worked closely with him. You just have to put up with this stuff. It is part of the daily experience, almost part of the furniture. He would behave in that way constantly. He suffers from a massive paranoia and an inability to accept blame, yet he runs a blame culture that allows him to blame others. He does not seek to win an argument, he just seeks to bully. If you have not worked closely with him before, it is truly shocking"

Enough said

Anonymous said...

And yet 30% of the Great British Public still say they will vote for him! What idiots!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this is not the way for the Conservatives to win decisively. It’s ridiculous - David Cameron (DC) should ‘move on dot org’ and focus on key issues, particularly jobs*jobs*jobs*jobs*

Everyone relates to JOBS.

Ignore this key issue – and DC will lead imho, at best, a weak government – meaning one that does not have a good majority/commanding number of MPs.

The same kind of thing is happening in Wales, a lack of focus on the part of the Welsh Conservatives on the job issue – this will cost the Welsh Conservatives dear.


Anonymous said...

Roman> "And yet 30% of the Great British Public still say they will vote for him! What idiots!"

No they are not idiots - this is David Cameron's failure due to lack of focus on key issues. He's gap-filling with stupid issues that have no real bearing on the problems facing the UK: of which jobs is a key issue.

Anonymous said...

It does seem that DC was handed a golden opportunity (or twenty) to sink this Labour Govt but has single-handedly missed the killer punches. The final straw was his betrayal over the Lisbon Treaty, and the Sun story about hand-written letters to dead soldiers families. Since then, Teflon Gordon has been in the ascendancy - but people are still idiots for voting for him (or LibDems) whatever DC does.

BoneT's Bro. said...

Bullying is clearly unacceptable in any aspect of our lives, that goes without saying but it would appear that the bullying policies in place in No. 10 are ineffective or ignored as a recent FoI (March, 2009 ta Dizzy) request has produced the following exchange:

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff in (a) the Prime Minister's Office and (b) the Leader of the House's Office were disciplined for (i) bullying and (ii) harassment of colleagues in each of the last three years.

Mr. Watson: It is not the policy of the Cabinet Office to release personal data relating to individual staff. I can confirm that in the period specified, there were fewer than five cases in the Department where staff were disciplined for bullying and harassment of colleagues. It would not be appropriate to provide a further breakdown.

The Bullying Helpline state they have received 3-4 enquiries in the past 18 months or so.

As about 200 people work in No. 10 this seems a high proportion of staff subject to bullying (of course it could be just one person making the enquiries/complaints but I would suggest this is unlikely).

Why if bullying has been reported in No. 10 does it still occur? There is clearly a culture in No. 10 which turns a blind eye to it.

But what really intrigues me is that despite Mr Brown’s frequent references to being the ‘son of the manse’ and ‘moral compass’ so many reports claim that he frequently uses foul language. Why does Mr Brown think that is acceptable? It isn’t in the office I work in. I’m sure that his father would be horrified ~ it strikes me that Mr Brown is happy to be labelled a ‘son of the manse’ when it suits his public persona but in reality he is tolerant of bullying when it suits his cause and is no better than the pond life whose vocabulary alternates between words starting with ‘f’ and ‘c’.

Glyn Davies said...

john - Well said. Bullying is horrible behaviour. Surprised about the Cabinet Member.

Anon - quite right. Now there as a real bully.

Bonetired - Pleased to see that Andrew Rawnsley is not willing to bow down before the bullying. Did you see Prescott last night.

BG - Who am I too argue with your girlfriend.

Anon 2 - I agree that economic activity (and jobs) is the biggest issue, and will decide the election.

JB - This is what a lot of commentaters have suggested over the years - and now its what a lot of voters believe. My post asked whether this made any difference to how they will vote.

Roman - I never refer to people who vote as I wish they wouldn't as 'idiots'. They are exercising their proper rights, and calling them names will ensure that they would never consider voting for me!!

And finally Brian Maitland - Sorry but I'm not going to allow a comment which attacks a colleague - especially about an issue that I can have no idea about.

Anonymous said...

I do hope people take my comments as representative of the views of Roman Jones, as I speak on behalf of no party (and am a member of none) so please excercise your free will to vote for whoever you wish.... blah blah blah. I do wish people would stop refering to me as a Conservative. Myself backing the Tories in 2010 is the equivalent of supporting a different football team to your own in a premiership match because if they beat their opponents it will save your own team from relegation. Having said that, I'm sure Glyn is the best man for Montgomeryshire, whatever his party.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who votes for Labour at the next general election (unless they live in Frank Field's constituency) have some real soul searching to do if Brown is returned as PM in May.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 2 - I agree that economic activity (and jobs) is the biggest issue, and will decide the election."

Well I read a letter just yesterday from 'a Welsh Labour Minister' and learned that the heart of Welsh Labour doesn't care about jobs or improving the Welsh economy. A low GVA is OK by them, a Welsh people worried sick over jobs - all too OK for them.

I now declare war on the empty chest that is Welsh Labour - where there should be a thumping vital heart is greed, elitism, arrogance that knows no bounds – the “we know best attitude” - never mind the appalling state of the Welsh economy. I will not rest until this scum is out of power. They are not the solution, they are the problem. They mock and look down on ordinary Welsh folk - by their arrogance they mock us, and from their lofty well compensated position they look down on us. It's gloves off time; they just don't know what's coming down the windpipe.