Saturday, 28 November 2015

Politics is run by bullies.

Politics is managed by bullies...everywhere. It is its biggest problem. It isn't solved by hanging one man out to dry. Here's John McTernan - pundit and former Labour spinner - celebrating violent bullying as a management tactic:

"A Cabinet minister who served in both the Blair and Brown governments retells his first encounter with Labour whips. Newly elected, he was walking through the corridors of the House when he was accosted by one. He was pushed against the wall, his testicles grabbed and twisted sharply – and painfully. “Son, you’ve done nothing to annoy me. Yet. Just think what I’ll do if you cross me.” That is how you manage backbenchers."

This is why that poor kid was bullied and why the bullying was covered up. Because it's normal, everyday practice in politics. If cabinet ministers, senior spin doctors and the like make light of bullying as a tactic of course folk lower down will emulate them.

The entire culture of our politics - just look at Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It - is centred on ad hominem, on using the personal to control the political. Having spent best part of my working life in this environment, I utterly hate it and the detestable, shallow people who rise to positions of power and influence through being bullies, through trampling over the bodies of their colleagues and opponents.

This is the culture that gave us a Standards Board used by bullies to control what others said, the culture that resulted in Prime Ministers so mistrustful of colleagues as to be almost paralysed in their actions, a culture where the most minor of mistakes is used to crush the enemy (remembering that for the bully the enemy is anyone between them and power).

So dance on the political grave of Grant Shapps, call him a 'thug' or whatever (despite there being precious little to support such contention). I don't know the man, have never met him - I just know his resignation doesn't solve the problem. That he's just a scapegoat just as Damian McBride was a scapegoat, just as were any number of folk we don't know who were shoved aside by the bullies clambering to the top of the political pile.



Dermot said...

I would argue that it goes way beyond politics. In my experience it's endemic in private sector management. Albeit bad management. It's the same shifty culture as seen when Alan Sugar does his strong man routine on the apprentice. We need to keep challenging it, it's corrosive, counterproductive and hurts people's mental health and wellbeing.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it, the meek will inherit the earth, apparently.

RES said...

"I don't know the man, have never met him - I just know his resignation doesn't solve the problem. That he's just a scapegoat..."

He's not just a scapegoat: he was seriously at fault. His resignation may not solve the problem, but it can be the start of solving the problem.

Okay, this is institutionalised abuse of power rather than a few rotten individuals. But it is by reporting misconduct and tumbling careers that the institutions will be motivated to change. When political organisers start seriously worrying about what it means for them to ignore the next blackmail / harassment / bullying report that lands on their desk, we'll be getting somewhere.