The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Bully Boy Brown

Posted by The Futility Monster on February 22, 2010 @ 09:30

Somehow, it's hard to imagine someone with hair like that being a bully.

It would be wrong to let the events of the past 24 hours regarding the latest Brown shitstorm to pass without comment, so here goes.

First of all, Andrew Rawnsley is probably one of Britain’s best political journalists. His contacts within Labour especially are second to none. He has always been known as having his finger on the pulse of the New Labour movement, and has always written with tremendous insight into the Blair years in power.

Secondly, the Brown administrations defence of the situation seems to be rather curious. “I have never hit anyone,” said Brown. Well, that’s funny, because Rawnsley never actually accused him of doing so. That’s what we call a straw-man, Gordon. Brown’s spokesman also denied that there had been any inquiry regarding the allegations. Rawnsley never suggested there had been. Merely the Cabinet Secretary asking a few informal questions to find out what was going on.

Thirdly, you have the spectacle of Mandelson denying anything and everything. Except that Brown has a bit of a temper, and has an “impatience to get on with the job” (paraphrased, but broadly right). Classic media management. Try to turn a negative story into a positive one, that Brown is frustrated that he isn’t delivering quickly enough. Make out that the system is against him, but by gosh, he’s trying his damndest!

Fourthly, you have the unexpected twist: the director of a national anti-bullying charity breaking cover in the oddest way, publicly insisting that she has been in contact with members of the Downing Street team regarding allegations of workplace bullying: a claim flatly denied by Number 10, not that they would know if members of their team had indeed called a confidential helpline.

Drawing all this together is the hardest part. What is not disputed is that Brown is a grumpy, messy, sometimes angry person. Angry mostly at himself, and that frustration is taken out on Nokias, newspapers and potentially other people by shouting. Not necessarily at them for their mistakes or failure, but as way of sharing his emotion to his group: “They’re out to get me!” – his (alleged) shouted reaction when he heard about the loss of the child benefit database.

There is also no question about anything physical encounters. If there were, this would be very serious indeed.

That just leaves the unknown. Workplace bullying is hard to nail. Sometimes bullies don’t actually set out to be so. They’re just nasty pieces of work who aren’t very sociable, and their actions are perceived by staff as being hostile towards them.

That may partially answer these allegations, since we already know that Brown is a bit of a brooder, with very poor social skills. But maybe too he has gone a bit too far at some points.

The real question of all this is does it damage him politically.

Only the polls over the next few weeks will tell us that.

UPDATE 15:50 – and the story continues, with the allegations now that our unexpected twist above under “Fourthly” now has a Fifth Dimension. Might the rather amateur looking anti-bully charity actually be stuffed with Tory stooges?

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One Response to “Bully Boy Brown”

  1. Call me Infidel said

    Might the rather amateur looking anti-bully charity actually be stuffed with Tory stooges?

    More likely the Labour smear machine is now in overdrive and they will hound Ms. Pratt at every opportunity. Much like they did with David Kelly.

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