1. Calling senior aides c***s
Gordon Brown was so incensed at the media coverage of the so-called "snub" of the Prime Minister by President Obama while on a visit to the UN in New York last year, that he bawled out his senior political adviser, the mild-mannered Stewart Wood.
Brown was furious that his spin doctors had "allowed" the story to get legs. Sitting naked in his hotel room he allegedly screamed at Wood: "You're a c***", and proceeded to abuse another member of staff, calling him an "even bigger c***".
2. Hitting an aide
“He is alleged to have reacted angrily when he was intercepted by an aide who asked him to attend to another matter. “According to one account, he punched the male official to get him out of the way” (Daily Mail).
3. Throwing a secretary out of her chair
“The Prime Minister's temper is said to have snapped when the secretary failed to keep up as he dictated a memo to her. He reportedly pulled her from her seat and sat at the computer keyboard himself, bashing out the memo”
4. Being rude at a dinner party with US politicians
Peter Watt wrote of a dinner party he attended at 10 Downing Street hosted by Gordon Brown:
“My wife Vilma and I were invited with three other couples – the lobbyist Jon Mendelsohn and his wifel Louis Susman – a Democratic fundraiser who was soon to become US Ambassador in London – and his wife; and another American couple. “Arriving at the flat, we were ushered into the drawing room and there was stilted small talk over aperitifs. While Sarah pottered around getting the meal ready, Gordon began showing people to their seats but was interrupted by one of the No10 staff, saying he had an important phone call. He disappeared, leaving Vilma and two others seated, and the rest of us awkwardly milling about. After a few minutes, we all started to feel a bit silly, so decided just to sit ourselves down. When Gordon finally reappeared he was aghast to find us all at the table. “I didn't sit you all down,” he exclaimed angrily. It was hugely embarrassing and some of the guests started mumbling about getting up again. ““No, no, you might as well stay where you are,” he replied huffily. He sat at the end of the table and swivelled in his chair, so that he almost had his back to everybody, and leaned his head on his arm. For the rest of the meal he was monosyllabic, sulking because he had lost control of the seating plan. “The plates had not even been cleared when suddenly, without saying anything, he just got up and left. As Sarah had also disappeared by then, we all showed ourselves out. “He's bonkers,” Vilma whispered, as we trooped out. I wanted to disagree but she was right. The whole evening had been utterly bizarre” (Peter Watt – Inside Out))
5. Shouting at Blair: ‘You’ve stolen my fucking budget’
“When Tony Blair announced on a Sunday breakfast show that the Government would like to see health spending rise to the European average, Brown was so furious with the Prime Minister that he shouted at him: ‘you’ve stolen my fucking budget.’” (The Observer, 10th of September 2000).
6. Not telling Tony Blair about the details of his budget
Tom Bower, in his biography of Gordon Brown, wrote about the process behind the 2003 budget: “Two days before his [Gordon Brown’s budget] speech, Tony Blair invited the chancellor to outline his proposed budget. The routine had become familiar. Every year, Blair’s staff would furtively seek information from Treasury officials about the budget. Sometimes they were fortunate and an informant, disobeying the chancellor, would reveal a nugget. On other occasions Brown had worked on his personal laptop to prevent any leak to the prime minister. There was no precedent for such conduct in Britain’s entire history. On this occasion, the chancellor arrived with a senior official. The atmosphere was frosty…To each question Blair asked about the budget he remained impassive until he either nodded to the official to disclose the details, or shook his head. Little was said. Thankfully the prime minister, pre-occupied by the war, did not seek a confrontation.”
7. Stapling his own hand
“There is an apocryphal story that Brown, assembling the notes he takes into prime minister’s questions, does his own stapling. One Wednesday morning, he apparently worked himself into such a nervous state that he drew blood when he accidentally stapled his hand. ” Sunday Times, February 24th 2008
8. Using mobile phones and office equipment as missiles
“The prime minister, 58, has hurled pens and even a stapler at aides, according to one; he says he once saw the leader of Britain’s 61 million people shove a laser printer off a desk in a rage. Another aide was warned to watch out for “flying Nokias” when he joined Brown’s team.” (Bloomberg, 24 April 2009) On one occasion, Brown upset his driver when, in a temper, he picked up his mobile phone and hurled it across the car (Mail on Sunday, 13th April 2008).
9. Having bad news broken to him with a ‘News Sandwich’
“One staffer says a colleague developed a technique called a “news sandwich” -- first telling the prime minister about a recent piece of good coverage before delivering bad news, and then moving quickly to tell him about something good coming soon.” (Bloomberg, 24 April 2009)
10. Kicking a desk over in rage
In November 2007, when he was told that two data discs containing the details of 25 million people had gone missing from HM Revenue and Customs, Gordon Brown ‘was supposed to have been so furious that he kicked the nearest desk, and indeed kicked it so hard that he kicked it over’ (Sue Cameron, Dispatches, 9th of June 2008.
11. Making top aide and good friend Spencer Livermore cry
After Brown bottled the 2007 election, it was reported that he was in such a rage that he made one of his top aides, Spencer Livermore, burst into tears. Livermore left five months later (Daily Mail, 9 December 2007).
12. Spending four hours googling for a quote by Shadow Cabinet member Dominic Grieve
“The stories are seeping out from No. 10. The other day, Gordon Brown was convinced that Dominic Grieve, the shadow Home Secretary, had made such a strong attack on 42-day detention as to impugn his commitment to national security. Although Downing Street advisers trawled and Googled, they could not find the quote. Their boss expressed gratitude for their efforts in the way that a sergeant-major would thank a recruit for a speck of dust on his rifle. Mr Brown then stationed himself at a terminal. For the next four hours, he sat there unavailingly, emanating gloom and rage. The non-psychiatric interpretation of his behaviour is termed “the playing politics with national security syndrome”. ” (the Brute, The Independent, 28 July 2008)
13. Flinging his trousers out of the room in an attempt to find his wallet
Tom Bower’s biography of Brown featured a recollection from an aide from around 1994: “An aide walking late at night along the corridor in Millbank heard grunts and groans from Brown’s office. Suddenly a pair of trousers flew out the door, then there was a crash. Brown was scrabbling through a bag, throwing socks and books onto the floor. “I can’t find my wallet,” he shouted. “I need money for a cab fare to the airport.” His personal disorganisation prompted potential sympathisers to question his ability to lead the party. ” (Gordon Brown by Tom Bower)
14. Throwing computers onto the floor
“His private tantrums, culminating once in a computer thrown onto the floor…” (Gordon Brown by Tom Bower). What others have said about working with him. “It’s disgusting...It’s the ghastly macho culture in there. It’s all willy-waving.” (A female minister in The Spectator, 11 June 2009). “He’s morally bankrupt...If you think you can’t win the argument on substance you end up falling back on political fixes and smears. ” (A cabinet minister in The Times on 5th June 2009). “Publicly, Gordon talks about values and his moral compass, but actually the way he conducts himself behind the scenes is anything but that — it’s brutal....That’s what he does. The last ten years is littered with people who’ve been cast aside. ” (Peter Watt in The Times, 11th May 2009). “Brown has never been known for his composure under pressure. He throws things - telephones, mugs, anything to hand. He screams at people. In short, he loses it and, if your staff are never sure when they might need to duck, they are not going to give you their best advice. And Brown needs all the advice he can get.” (Lance Price, former Labour spin doctor in The Mail on Sunday, 3 May 2009). “The trouble is that Gordon is basically mental. Perhaps he already was, but he is getting worse. He is constantly on the phone and won't leave ministers alone to get on with the job. ” (A Cabinet Minister in The Express, 25 April 2008).
Can they all be wrong? And if they're not, how on earth did the Labour Party allow this man to become PM?