"Bullygate", a shady saga
As David said on his blog:
What sort of Prime Minister would you prefer? And I wonder at anyone who has never had a boss who shouted and swore a bit. Fleet Street is clearly not as one tends to think it is. Then again, perhaps they assume that no one else has had these experiences, since that would make them the same as everyone else?
I quite agree with him. Far rather a boss who bawled you out with some choice Anglo Saxonisms but allowed you to shout back at him in equally fruity language than some nasty snide sod of a manager anyday.
As insider #2 puts it:
Yes, Gordon has a temper. But in all honesty it is no worse than working in a newspaper office or a TV newsroom.
He will erupt more than most people do but I certainly don't remember it as a place of fear and loathing. But just like a media news editor, he would occasionally shout, “What the f*** is all that about?”
There's one really good thing about the man, which is that you are allowed to shout back without it being held against you. But shouting does not happen every day. It's not like he wanders around seething all day.
As for bullying, that's utter bollocks. Can he have a violent temper? Yes, he can. Can he also be very kind? Yes. The idea that we were waiting for him to explode is nonsense.
There was not a blame culture. If you were in the room when something went wrong, he would shout but I never heard him say, “it's all your fault”. It always ended up with him blaming himself.
And before you start thinking it, the insider isn't the only person to have defended Gordon either. So has Peter Watt - no Brown fan, he - on Newsnight last night, noting that the language used to describe Brown is "a bit strong". Quite so. One of the chief rhetorical culprits in this sorry story is the word "abuse". Abuse is one of those vague and not easily defined words which means child rape at one extreme to something as minor as swearing at the other and everything else in between.
And then there's that curious character, the appropriately named Christine Pratt, founder and spokesperson at large for the National Bullying Helpline, who popped up just when the story might have started to go cold with her strange tales of terrified Number 10 staff ringing her helpline. Lindsey is bang on the money when he says:
Deafening silence from the usual critics of fake charities about the National Bullying Helpline, whose income in 2007 was a mere £1,818, with expenditure of £852. The figures for 2008 are 207 days overdue. In 2007, £1000 was raised by CLM Solicitors and Monahans, £200 by BNY Mellon Asset Services, and around £600 pounds from all other donations. Ann Widdecombe is a Patron, though one does have to wonder for how much longer after today's breach of confidentiality. And the helpline refers callers to a human resources consultancy run by Christine Pratt and her husband.
Yes, this looks like a very shady saga indeed.