We’ve examined Briton’s greatest top 10 historical characters – as voted for by the British public – and no fewer than six were bullies, by our calculations. Gordon Brown can rest assured.
Meanwhile here are some letters we stumbled upon today: Can’t vouch for their authenticity.
To the National Bullying Helpline.
Dear Mrs Pratt,
I trust I can count on your discretion. I need your assistance because I am being bullied left, right and centre by powerful people.
Alistair Darling described me as “the forces of hell.” The Daily Telegraph called me “Mad Dog and McPoison”. Stephen Byers said I was “aggressive and hostile” while one blogger, Devil’s Kitchen, called me a “loathsome, lying…poisonous little moron.”
I feel really put upon. I’ve even had it in the neck from Boris Johnson, mayor of London, who called me the “slug on the milk bottle” and a “lately exploded pustule.”
I hope you can help me in my hour of need.
Amid political uncertainty about the future of Crossrail – would either Labour or the Tories delay or axe the project? – news of job cuts at the group may not be the most positive sign.
This morning I heard about redundancies across the piste at Crossrail in recent days. A spokesman has now confirmed that Rob Holden, chief executive, has asked all team leaders to examine the potential for job cuts. “Directors are being asked to look at their teams going forward…to continue to offer value for money,” he said.
Gordon Brown emerged pretty much unscathed from PMQs, especially considering Alistair Darling’s terrifically unhelpful interview about the “forces of hell”.
Brown insisted he “never instructed” anyone to brief against his chancellor after Darling warned in 2008 that the world faced the worst recession for 60 years.
This raises an obvious question: did he do anything to stop the anti-Darling briefings? It is worth looking over the reports at that time as a reminder of how pointed the attacks were.
The implication wasn’t just that Brown was unhappy — it was that Brown was preparing to sack his Darling and replace him with Ed Balls. This surely should have prompted Brown to take action and make clear these briefings were false? No?
Anyway, the key piece seems to have been in the Mail on Sunday the day after the interview. “A furious Mr Brown phoned Mr Darling and ordered him to eat his words on TV, while allies of the Prime Minister said, Mr Darling should be sacked and his job given to Schools Secretary Ed Balls,” the piece stated. Here are the most forthright supporting quotes, which are notably from MPs, not aides:
One MP who is close to the Prime Minister said: ‘Alistair has got to go and his job must be given to Ed Balls. Ed is the cleverest person in the Cabinet and has the full confidence of the Prime Minister.
‘If anyone can get us out of this hole, Ed can. Alistair Darling’s comments are self-indulgent rubbish.’
A veteran Labour backbencher said: ‘This is obviously a farewell interview by Alistair. Everybody wants him to go. You may get away with one uncharismatic Scot at the top of the Government, but not two. It’s like a “who smiles first” contest.’
The latest Electoral Commission figures are out for party donations and prove that the Tories will have much greater fire-power in the coming general election.
The Conservatives raised £10.5m in the three months to the end of December. Labour attracted just £5m. The Lib Dems were left trailing with barely more than £1m.
Labour are hoping to use this to their advantage by depicting themselves as the underdogs, as David Blunkett told the FT on Monday; a hard act to pull off after 13 years in power.
Will let you know later if more juicy facts emerge from the more detailed numbers.
(UPDATE: One interesting fact to emerge today is that Andrew Charalambous, the Tory candidate standing in Edmonton, gave £142,319 to his own campaign for advertising, printing and other campaigning…….)
Here is the list of all donors giving more than £200,000. Sorry for the glitch on Sir Nigel Doughty (top right) – he is the biggest giver of all in the period.
See the FT’s interactive guide to the shadow cabinet and key Conservative party advisers, including details of who the major players listen to and where the connections lie. The graphic includes profiles written by your very own Westminster blogging team. Visit www.ft.com/tories
Never mind the allegations about Gordon Brown — he is a mouse compared with Lyndon Johnson, the king of political bullies. If you’ve not read it, I urge you to pick up Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate, surely the best political biography ever written.
In one chapter, Caro describes LBJ interviewing staff while perched on the toilet, urinating in front of secretaries and occasionally unzipping “Jumbo” in front of his senate colleagues and hollering “have you ever seen anything as big as this?”
Brown himself hailed the book as “quite breathtaking”. I wanted to quote some Caro passages on LBJs abuse of junior staff, but sadly I’ve misplaced my copy at home. Instead I’ve harvested some choice extracts from the web, mainly relating to how he used to manhandle his fellow senators into submission.
Credit to Dizzy Thinks for spotting this one: