Turmoil surrounds `bully' Brown

SO Gordon Brown is a bully. I'm tempted to say “so what” if his Black Dog behaviour has been limited to political staffers and advisers he brought with him to Downing Street.

Graham Dines

SO Gordon Brown is a bully. I'm tempted to say “so what” if his Black Dog behaviour has been limited to political staffers and advisers he brought with him to Downing Street.

However if he is intimidating impartial civil servants, then that's a different matter.

How do you define bullying? If all it is the use of robust industrial language hurled at a secretary who just happens to be in the same room when he's having a tantrum, then I think we've all been there and it's no big deal.


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I've never heard him swear in public, unlike David Cameron whose use of choice words in speeches and media briefings has caused the odd eyebrow to be raised.

But if it's threats and abuse against public officials, then Cabinet Secretary and head of the salaried staff Sir Gus O'Donnell should launch an investigation, although if he had known there was a problem and chosen not to intervene, questions should be asked of him.

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Doubts over the Prime Minister's character have surfaced in a book by the Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley. What makes Downing Street's rebuttal so venomous is that Rawnsley is no Tory stooge, but a left of centre political commentator.

Damage could probably have been contained as tittle tattle had it not been for the intervention of the National Anti-bullying Helpline charity, which 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.”

In typical New Labour bullying, Downing Street is now demanding the charity reveals the names of those who contacted it.

But under the human rights legislation of which Brown and Co are so proud, breaching confidentiality would be an infringement of the individuals' right to privacy.

Tony Blair always had his doubts about Brown's suitability. The infamous phrase that Brown was “psychologically flawed” came from the very top.

However, the Labour Party unanimously decided to ignore this warning and chose Brown as its leader.

Incidentally, Black Dog is the name given by Winston Churchill to his mood swings when PM from 1940 to 1945.

n THE Co-Op makes great play in its adverts of its environmentally sound, fair trade, ethically sourced products. I was therefore somewhat taken aback to read the label on a carton of low fat Greek style yoghurt that it was produced in the UK from EU milk.

Given the challenging conditions facing the UK dairy sector, it is hardly ethical to import milk from France or Slovenia.

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