Today, following the “Gordon Brown is a bully” allegations which have dominated the news, Peter Baume, general secretary of the First Division Association, which represents “top” people in the Civil Service alleged that bullying is rife across Whitehall and that staff had little power to respond to abuse by politicians and their special advisers.
He said he was not commenting about the Andrew Rawnsley book but confirmed that he knew of a number of cases where staff had been bullied. The victims had, he said, little option but to tolerate it or resign.
"Too often politicians have little idea about what is acceptable in a modern workplace and the behaviour of some ministers and special advisers falls short of what is acceptable on occasions," he said. "Every Government department has clear and unambiguous anti-bullying policies. In theory these should cover ministers. However, in practice no civil servant is likely to make a formal complaint against a minister. Instead, concerns about ministerial behaviour are dealt with through informal channels."
Mr Baume went on to say that if these channels failed, there was nothing the member of staff could do. (I’m not sure what he means by “informal channels”. Could it be that ministers are above the law? I’m not sure why. As Robin Day once said they are “here today and gone tomorrow” functionaries.)
David Cameron responded to the allegations of bullying by asking for an inquiry. He has suggested that Philip Mawer, who is in charge of policing the ministerial code, be asked to look into it.
However, Mr Mandelson, First Secretary, ruled out an inquiry, saying the allegations were "acquiring a slight odour" of being politically motivated.
I don’t know the politics of Andrew Rawnsley, or whether his book was politically motivated. It sure as hell will be motivated by political gain when Cameron has grabbed it and is running with it all the way to the line. But Brown and Mandleson really need to see that you can’t turn on tears for family tragedy, and follow up with tears for your dead mother, and rub your hands with glee as your opponents slip 4 points in opinion polls, and then expect that they won’t seize every opportunity to get even. To such depths has London politics sunk. But if you can’t take it don’t dish it out.
We have discover this last year just how much our MPs have been fiddling. We have seen the tip of the iceberg about how much the Lords are stealing. We are seeing what Anon calls “beeboids” are allegedly entitled to for doing a recreational job, and most recently we discovered that council chiefs are ashamed to let us know how much they pay themselves for fear of reprisals given the appalling quality of service they deliver in return.
Now we are finding that ministers treat staff like punch bags and that there are no formal way of dealing with this..
What on earth is this Union about?