I tried really hard to let it go… I promise you, I really did.
But, I’m sorry to say I failed miserably.
Gordon Brown and his bullying.
I have to say that, at Enterprise Britain, we had a full and frank exchange of views about whether Gordon Brown is actually a bullying control freak, or whether he isn’t.
I’m firmly in the ‘he is’ camp, although I’m not here to make a judgement about the rights and wrongs of being passionate, focussed, angry with self or all those other things that people have used to justify his behaviour… I’m just going to point out (again) that it’s one rule for the politicians and another for the rest of us for whom the law actually means anything.
Let’s examine what’s been said. Dear old Golden has been accused of grabbing people by the lapels, shouting at them and throwing papers on the floor. Even his best mate (hello, Darling) had ‘the forces of hell’ unleashed against him.
I have to say, that, if these things are true, on the surface, they sound very much like bullying to me. And remember the law says (something like) every employee has the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and INTIMIDATION.
As the story broke, the rest of the eejits (sorry, cabinet) began to rush to Golden’s defence, although, I have to say, when you analyse what they say, it wouldn’t really help in an Industrial Tribunal. ‘Yes, Gordon does shout and get angry… but MOSTLY at himself.’ Or even, ‘yes, Gordon does throw papers on the floor and shouts at people when he gets impatient!’
Now, the argument in the EB office was this… in the blue corner was Mr Van Dijl who said that politics, much like business, is tough and if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. He also went on to explain that the Prime Minister’s job is the toughest in the country and, whatever you think of dear old Golden, he’s entitled to let off some steam.
In the red corner stands my esteemed colleague, Richard Lambert (not the DG of the CBI, but our Richard) who argues that, whether the law is an ass or not) it is the law and should be applied to every employer equally. He goes on to argue that if it was you or I in EB who was accused of this sort of behaviour we’d be in an Industrial Tribunal before you could say ‘unfair dismissal’.
For me (the referee) I think it’s another example of one rule for them, being politicians and another for us, who are under at least as much pressure as Golden.
Like I said, that’s not a judgement of the rights and wrongs of the law, just how it’s applied.