openDemocracyUK

Bullygate - not a sideshow

Rosemary Bechler
26 February 2010

I am astonished at the way Bullygate is being seen as simply a distracting non-scandal of a sideshow.

We should take the charges against Brown and his New Labour culture very seriously. People are not stupid. When they watch 'The Thick of It' they know they are watching the latest hyperrealist account of this culture, and that this is one area where there probably is no smoke without fire. I wish we had more debate about its implications for the rest of us. And I stand by my conclusion re our bullying culture in my piece on Sachsgate i.e. that in the last thirty years the brutalisation of everyday life in Britain is the only area where trickle down has worked, resoundingly...

More important, I have been amazed at the skilful way in which the outing of this truth has been turned around to direct itself as a last desperate attempt to justify Brown staying in office. This morning we are told on the news that the British people need to understand that in the event of a hung parliament, the PM would probably get to stay on! This seems to be accepted because the whole political class is dearly attached to 'strong government', much reinforced on this occasion by the demand by money markets that the British people be made to suffer for the recession (and by the sense that our 'national interest' must be strongly defended to save our military status).

Under these circumstances, it is fascinating to watch how convenient it is for the British people to be encouraged to think that responsibility for rank bullying begins and ends with Gordon Brown. The fact the political party as such is little more than a bullying machine - designed to ensure that our elected representatives are whipped into shape for the enhancement of executive power in all its pretensions (neatly exposed in Anthony's OK piece on Mandelson presenting himself as 'running the country'). Are Cameron's methods for whipping his party into shape any more savoury, civilised, generous to individual conscience and creativity than their Labour counterpart... I don't know about the Lib Dems - but if it is culturally different in this regard, then in my book that is a strong reason for supporting them, the Greens, or any other aspiring politicos who still remember what it was to be a human being.

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