Monday, February 22, 2010

Charlie Whelan's Advice on Bullying

Unite, the leasehold owners of the Labour Party (courtesy of Charlie Whelan's munificence) have produced a very helpful guide to people who wonder whether they are being bullied.

Am I being bullied?

* Bullies may use terror tactics, open aggression, threats, shouting, abuse, and obscenities towards their target
* Bullies may subject their target to constant humiliation or ridicule, belittling their efforts, often in front of others
* Bullies may subject their target to excessive supervision, monitoring everything they do and being excessively critical about minor things
* Bullies may take the credit for other people's work but never take the blame when things go wrong
* Bullies may constantly override the person's authority
* Bullies may remove whole areas of work responsibility from the person, reducing their job to routine tasks that are well below their skills and capabilities
* Bullies may set the person what they know to be impossible objectives, or constantly change the work remit without telling the person, and then criticise or reprimand the person for not meeting their demands
* Bullies may ostracise and marginalise their target, dealing with the person only through a third party, excluding the person from discussions, decisions etc
* Bullies may spread malicious rumours about the individual

Anyone would think this had been written by Spencer Livermore. And he should know.


dizzy said...

Beat you by an hour buddy!

Johnny Norfolk said...

Sounds like most companies to me. this is going on all the time.

It needs stamping out like this Labour government

CC Baxter said...

Has anyone asked if bullying is acceptable to the unions that represent Downing Street staff?

They've been strangely quiet in the matter.

JuliaM said...

Amusing to see the left flounder on this. Left wing sites are alternately ignoring it, claiming it's a Tory plot, attacking the whistleblower or arguing that the allegations don't meet a strict definition of bullying.

Come to think of it, that's how they approach it every time the mask slips and people get a good look at them, isn't it?

Stepney said...


DespairingLiberal said...

"Charlie Whelan's Advice on (sic) Bulling"

A Freudian slip?

" * Bullies may remove whole areas of work responsibility from the person, reducing their job to routine tasks that are well below their skills and capabilities"

Isn't this also what a good senior manager does when a member of staff is not suited to a role? Happens all the time and that doesn't make it bullying.

Some of this fuss does make you wonder about the delicate souls who inhabit the civil service corridors of Upper Whitehall. Are they really so fragile that they need to phone bullying helplines? Presumably they enjoy the buzz and prestige of working in Number 10 or the Cabinet Office - perhaps they can't take the heat and should get out of the kitchen?

tory boys never grow up said...

Are you sure that it wasn't written by Geoffrey Howe or Nigel Lawson - seems to tick most of the boxes.

Stepney said...

If I were you Iain, I'd grab that sub-editor you've got by the lapels and shove him around a bit. Go on give him a right good slapping.

He can't even do a header.

Blogosphere - no excuse for poor copy editing.

Anonymous said...

To describe The Laird of Dulnain Bridge as a reptile would be to give reptiles a bad name.

Eddie 180 said...

Labour will try to turn this into a story about the Charity and breach of confidence. It is a side issue, and beyond confirming that there have been people concerned enough that they were being bullied to call a helpline, irrelevant. The central issue is the charge that Brown is a bully.

Peter Watts, Labours former General Secretary, has stated on the Daily Politics that he recognises the traits that have been claimed regarding bullying by Brown.

There are many other people from inside the Labour party, that have confirmed on the record that Brown loses his temper and can overstep the mark at times.

Bullying inside the Labour party is as old as the closed shop... no wonder the unions are silent in their condemnation of it at Number 10.

Mr. Musicology said...

It appears the tory "blogging nation" have been instructed to push this as far as humanly possible.

I'm so synical in general about Mrs Pratt as I actually read about this last month on Guido Fawkes, by a commenter.

Not naming her in general, but that there would be revelations brought out to coincide with the Observer piece.

Mr. Musicology said...

Can I just approach this as a left-ist………

1: Mrs Pratt is a “charity” worker, who has also been accused of using the front of charity to guide users on to her commercial HR operarion.

2: Her (amateurish) looking web site is daubed with personal messages from half of the tory party. She has 3 active tories sitting on her board. And none from any other party.

3: Her office is 2 doors away from tory HQ in Swindon

4: She chooses to come out and speak to the media, making speculative claims that people from number 10 have been calling her site. Completely ignoring confidentiality usually associated with “charities” like this. She later comes back stating that none of them were actually anything to do with Brown.

5: Admits tory party have been in touch with her recently. But only to “offer support”.

Come on. Really. This is as bad a stitch up as “lettergate”, and will probably be just as bad over the long term.

The tories deserve to be forever linked to this fool

Jimmy said...

It's getting so the tories can't even put together a decent black op without the wheels coming off. Poor show.

Craig Ranapia said...

DespairingLiberal :

Ah, another spin line from the Bully's Playbook:

"Gee, you just need to toughen up/get a sense of humour/get a new job."

Personally, I wonder if these are the same people who used to think women in the workplace should be flattered by crude sexual comments -- and a sneaky grope. Or that any objection to racist or homophobic taunts is just political correctness gone mad.

Jimmy said...


I suppose it depends on what you consider "bullying". Take this account for example...

"After the Arsenal story, D was placed under intense investigation every time a story gave rise to a complaint - however routine - from its subject. These led D to suffer anxiety attacks, which culminated in July 2006, the day after his birthday, with him being admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack. "I was used to such high levels of stress. On a big match, when I'm working live on a game, I could handle any kind of deadline thrown at me. But maybe I was so used to being at that level that I was tipped over the edge."

The day after his hospital scare, C sent an email to executives saying he wanted D out. "They sensed this was the time that I had cracked". While D lay at home for three months recovering, he was bombarded with phone calls and emails demanding he come into the office.

"I was getting three or four phone calls, emails and recorded delivery letters every day from the managing editor. They even sent a nurse."

During this time D suffered chest pains and sleep loss and was prescribed valium and sleeping pills. "It was like being under siege. They asked for my company car back. They cut off my company mobile, which meant I lost all my contacts. And they cut off my salary on two occasions, which they called "a broadside"." [independent: names redacted to protect the influential]

Now putting someone in an ICU I think would qualify. You'll be pleased to know that C no longer works there. After all, what reputable outfit would employ someone like that?

Craig Ranapia said...


Very cute -- but what's your point? That if David Cameron's communications director acted like a knob when he was editor of the News of the World, then it's OK at Number 10?

Matt Driscoll deserved every penny of the damages he received, and Any Coulson should have shown more leadership and better judgement. The News of the World was found to have broken the law and was held accountable. But where Gordon Brown and Labour is concerned, it seems to be a case of do what I say, and don't you dare say what I do -- or you'll be sorry.

Craig Ranapia said...

BTW, Jimmy, I've got no problem with Gordon Brown finding a job when he's released into the private sector -- and may that day be sooner rather than later. He just might have to work on his people skills a bit.

Craig Ranapia said...


You're cute as a Hello Kitty lunchbox, but what's your point? The News of The World was found to have broken the law and was held accountable -- because workplace bullying isn't acceptable.

Apparently, it seems, when this kind of rubbish goes down at Ten Downing Street it's a matter of do what we say, but never ever say what we do -- or you'll be sorry.

That's not good enough Jimmy, and to be honest the high speed spin cycle is making me feel rather ill.

DespairingLiberal said...

Craig, I think the point is that David Cameron is busy calling for an enquiry into bullying and describing it as "very serious" whilst he himself thinks it is (a) fine to join an organisation at college (the Bullingdons) well known for their bullying and publicly intimidatory attitudes and (b) to employ a man as a leading advisor who was actually found guilty of bullying behaviour.

Go figure.

Craig Ranapia said...

Despairing Liberal:

As many others have said 'you did it first, so STFU' is not an excuse fit for adults, and I won't continue to dignify it with attention.

If Cameron or any member of his staff engage in workplace bullying, then they're getting no sympathy from me if they are exposed and forced to accept the consequences. Like the News of the World was in the case of Matt Driscoll.

By the way, any evidence that such crap is going down at the House or Millbank?

Jimmy said...


Among other things I'm urging a sense of proportion. I think one may distinguish between punching the back of a car seat and harrying someone into hospital. It trivialises the issue to use the term to describe bad temper or rudeness as "bullying".

Craig Ranapia said...

You're really not getting it, Jimmy. Among other things, you're showing exactly the kind of moral cretinism that argues anything short of rape isn't "really" sexual harassment and women who object to be subjected to lewd and sexist comments at work need to get a "sense of perspective".

And using the rather warped logic you and Despairing Liberal are trotting out, I guess Labour gets a pass for every lie it ever tells because, you know, Lord Archer and Jonathan Aitken (who happen to be Tories) are convicted perjurers.

Jimmy said...

"that argues anything short of rape isn't "really" sexual harassment"

Not at all. To follow your analogy, I'm arguing that anything short of rape isn't really rape. I don't know how to explain it any more simply.