At some point in the last 50 years Britain had its bollocks lopped off. In case you missed it, allegations that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is a mean, mean bully broke over the weekend and dominated the airwaves and print in the United Kingdom. Apparently, he yells at his staff and some consider him abusive. Oh my! It’s so bad that Christine Pratt, the head of the National Bullying Helpline said, “I have personally taken a call from staff in the prime minister’s office, staff who believe they are working in a bullying culture and that it has caused them some stress.” Wait, what?
Members of the British executive branch call bullying hotlines? Seriously?
On the helpline’s Web site they say it, “addresses bullying in all corners of society,” which apparently includes the highest levels of government. In a way this isn’t that surprising. Britain has long been the subject of ridicule for coddling its citizenry. They allow government agents to examine private houses to verify the environment is safe for kids, they have begun banning knives the same way the Brady campaign wants to ban guns, and for good measure they insist on instituting positively parental drinking restrictions across the country. But a National Bullying Helpline that adults can use without being subject to much needed ridicule strikes us as a bridge too far.
The tenuous grasp on reality this indicates doesn’t stop at the Helpline. It turns out the government’s opposition leader, and in all likliehood future Prime Minister, David Cameron, has decided to call for an investigation into this bullying:
Mr Cameron called on Sir Philip Mawer, the independent adviser on the ministerial code of conduct, to investigate allegations that the National Bullying Helpline charity received “three or four” calls in recent months from Downing Street staff.
Speaking at an event in London, Mr Cameron said: “These are very serious matters. I’m sure that Number 10 Downing Street and the civil service in some way will want to have some sort of inquiry to get to the bottom of what has happened here.
It’s one thing for the spitting image of the British nanny to crow about the Downing Street staffers that called her remarkably childish “Helpline,” but it’s a different cup of tea when an actual government leader thinks this matters.