Monthly Archives: February 2010

Jim Pickard

There will be something coming out within minutes. Things aren’t looking too good for the National Bullying Helpline.

(Still nothing on PA – Widdecombe’s staff were busy writing when I last called them). Read more

Just been looking at the fascinating civil service “people survey”, which asked 340,000 workers whether they had been bullied.

Around 7 per cent of Cabinet Office staff said they had “personally experienced bullying or harassment at work”. No breakdown of how many of them were working in Downing Street. But the self-described victims of bullying do say that “managers” in the organisation are most likely to be responsible. Read more

Jim Pickard

Cary Cooper, a patron of the National Bullying Helpline, resigned this morning at protest at the decision by Christine Pratt – its head – to go public on her allegations of bullying at 10 Downing Street.

I’ve just come off the phone from Mary O’Connor*, another patron, who has also just resigned within the last half an hour. Read more

Jim Pickard

Nick Robinson compares the furore with the war of Jennifer’s Ear

Dizzy Thinks has more on the founder of the National Bullying Helpline. And more details of bullying complaints in Whitehall. Read more

Jim Pickard

Just ran into a Tory MP who believes that bullying prime ministers aren’t such a big deal.

“Eden was a terrible bully, I’m sure that Churchill was as well…and as for Gladstone, well, he had furious rages,” he ponders. “If you want to work in 10 Downing Street you should be able to withstand a bit of tough treatment now and again.” Read more

Jim Pickard

The answer is probably no. Without further proof I don’t believe this one. But a caller to LBC yesterday morning claimed that – while working at a lamination factory last year – he saw the prime minister in his anger hurl a tangerine into a machine. I’ve typed out a transcript below.

The potential damage from stories like this, which can be invented by almost anyone (the caller refused to say where the factory is, when the supposed visit was, etc) is that they fit into a pattern of behaviour which we now accept to be be broadly true. (This blog revealed Gordon’s alleged phone-throwing in early 2008). Thus they can only harm the PM’s reputation, fairly or unfairly. Read more

The first secretary was in spirited form on the BBC this morning. Andrew Marr hardly laid a glove on him. But Mandelson’s response to the tenor — if not the detail — of Andrew Rawnsely’s allegations over Gordon Brown’s rages can hardly be called a denial.

Mandelson basically accused David Cameron of not caring enough about politics to lose his temper as he admitted that Brown is “quite emotional” and “will get angry but chiefly with himself”. He said there was a degree of impatience. “But what would you like? Some kind of shrinking violet at the helm as we go through such choppy waters.” Read more

An extraordinary compilation of all the CCTV footage of the alleged killers of Mahmoud alMabhouh, the Hamas military commander. It is long but well worth watching. Note the narrators make no mention of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. The shots of the tennis players using secret communications devices show what a sophisticated operation it was. But the most memorable moment is surely the bald chap who pops into the loo only to emerge with a full head of hair.

On Thursday in the Notebook column I reported the early stages of a merciless bureaucratic assault on the army stables.

It makes passing reference to Dudley, a six-year-old Irish-bred grey gelding, who is fitted with a leopard-skin saddle as mascot for the Queen’s Royal Hussars.

The article suggests that Dudley, like the other MoD horses, has a “through life cost” to the taxpayer of £150,000. This deserves to be corrected. A reader has let me know that Dudley may actually be a private military company, only indirectly benefiting from taxpayer support.

I would like to point out a quite significant misconception in your notebook piece: Dudley is not paid for by the defence budget but by the officers of the regiment, who all chip in to fund his procurement, through-life costs, and  personal equipment. Technically he may therefore be a Private Military and Security Company.

Dudley, please accept my apologies. The full notebook extract is copied below. Read more

Lots of controversy over whether the Israeli ambassador was summoned to see Sir Peter Ricketts, the head of the Foreign Office, or invited. Here is a brief guide to the diplomatic lexicon.

An invitation: Typically to dinners or functions. A staple of diplomatic life. Can be declined in most instances without causing offence. Read more

It was to be expected. But Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winning economist and chief Gordon Brown cheerleader, has revealed that we have another letter heading our way on how fast to cut the deficit.

There’s an economists’ duel underway in Britain. Everyone agrees that Britain needs to address its underlying budget deficit; but how fast? One group of prominent economists has published a letter saying that cuts should start more or less immediately. Read more

Three reasons why Tory co-operatives may be a radical idea that few workers will want to take up in practice:

1) Demand  Read more