As we have discovered this week, the issue of bullying is atricky one in that the lines can be blurred between single incidents of angerdirected at different people and a continuous stream of invective aimed at aparticular person.
At Community Care we have run stories where managers areaccused of bullying – Cafcass being the subject of a recent one – but where doyou turn when the temperature rises?
In many cases, a trade union would be the obvious recourse.But what if you prefer to seek advice elsewhere – perhaps thebully is heavily involved with the union, for example? Where do you go?
The National Bullying Helpline would, on the face of it,have been an attractive alternative. Until this week, that is, when it breachedall protocols of confidentiality and went public by implicating the primeminister’s office as a hotbed of bullying.
That from a charity which, one would have hoped, had nopolitically partisan axe to grind.
In an embarrassing climbdown by Christine Pratt on Radio 4′s Today programme yesterday, the head of the National Bullying Helpline admittedthat Gordon Brown had “absolutely not” been accused of bullying.
So why link the two? Who, then, is the bully? Moreover, isthere a bully? Or was there simply a party political point to be made, as an addendum to last year’s rumours of Gordon Brown being on antidepressants and his deteriorating eyesight?
However, it does appear that Brown has been known to thump,wait for it, the back seat of a car and use the F-word after discovering thathis speechwriter had lifted phraseology from a US presidential campaign.
At this rate, Brown himself will need to speak to ananti-bullying helpline, having spent recent months watching attempts todeconstruct his character, health and mental health.
But it does beg the question: where does bullying begin andwould you trust the National Bullying Helpline if you had an issue with they way you are treated in the workplace?