British Politics’s Blog

The ravings of an individual, UK voter frustrated with our politicians

Posts Tagged ‘labour party

Gordon Brown’s Temper Tantrums

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Much has been written about Gordon Brown’s management style and specifically about his legendary temper tantrums. He and some of his loyal colleagues may dismiss this as a man that is committed, passionate and someone who gets angry with himself, but that it complete rubbish, he knows it and so do his colleagues. The fact remains, reports of Gordon Brown’s behavior in the private sector would almost certainly lead to the dismissal of the protagonist.

This is a prime example of what happens when you place people with little or no real management experience in charge of a huge organization…such as Government. Yes, he was Chancellor, but the fact is, unlike many people in the private and even the public sector, Gordon Brown (and many of the ministers who now come to his defence), have never worked through the ranks. Therefore, they have little or no conception of the need to lead by example and communicate their message clearly and concisely. The bottom line is, bullies make very poor managers, instead they breed a culture of fear, contempt and hidden truths.

Brown has admitted that he throws things; well what sort of message does he think this type of behaviour sends? That he is in control, measured, responsible? I don’t think so! Anyone who defends such actions are as bad as the perpetrator, because they are seen as complicit, or perhaps even endorsing the behaviour, so victims have nowhere to go. It is an appalling situation.

I have seen senior managers that adopt a similar style to Gordon Brown and based on my experience of how people react to such people, I am not surprised that Brown fails to achieve anything! Bullying managers will normally experience the following;

  1. Their line managers adopt a similar management style and this behaviour is eventually considered ‘normal
  2. As information moves up the chain it is ‘sanitized’ to avoid facing the wrath of their line managers. Management is told what they want to hear rather than the facts.
  3. As the information and management is disseminated to each line manager, it is further sanitized to suit the recipient, therefore, by the time it reaches the top of the chain, it bears no reality to what is happening at grass roots level. This is fact, not supposition.
  4. Some of the brightest people within the group are crushed, because their views differ from what senior managers want to hear, this prevents new ideas and fresh initiatives being presented. This results in ‘same old, same old, rather than fresh ideas…anyone watching this Governments lack lustre performance for the past few years will recognize this trait.
  5. Meetings end up with everyone agreeing with the ‘chair’ rather than challenging or presenting new ideas.
  6. Because everyone agrees with the boss, the boss thinks that he can ‘walk on water’ that he can do no wrong. This then becomes self-perpetuating! Any boss worth his salt would ensure that he had people around him that were prepared to challenge the status quo.

There is another undeniable fact that people like Gordon Brown needs to know…the lower down the ranks the people on the receiving end of his tantrums are, the harder they are hit. Fellow ministers may shrug off his attempt to show how macho he is by throwing a telephone at the wall, but junior employees will almost certainly shit themselves! What a big man you are Mr Brown!

It is well know that Gordon Brown likes to micro manage (this is often sold as a virtue!)…but it is in fact another futile act. The reality is, where senior mangers micro manage; they create resentment in the ranks, therefore as soon as their attention is directed elsewhere, everything returns to normal. This is how managers get their own back on interfering bosses who think they are the only people that know the answers or solution.

What Gordon Brown has not learned, is that the larger the machine, the more important it is to sell your ideas, before attempting to enforce them. He has made the classic mistake that many senior managers do, that is to assume that because they are the ‘big boss’ they can issue orders and it will just happen…because they decree it so. Utter bollocks! It just doesn’t happen that way. New ideas and initiatives have to be sold up and down the line…otherwise they will get bogged down in the process…there is another important lesson for Gordon Brown and people like him, that is being the boss does not always mean that you are right! So a good boss will have someone around him to keep his feet on the ground and a person who is not frightened of challenging him.

The bottom line is Gordon Brown doesn’t have what it takes…and I suspect neither does David Cameron…the only difference is Gordon Brown has had his chance and screwed it up, if Cameron gets his, I earnestly hope for the sake of the people of this country he learns a lot faster. In this election, I suspect we will be voting not for the people or the party we want, but the people or the party that we dislike the least. If this is democracy, they can shove it!

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David Cameron’s Amnesty for wrongdoers

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Am I the only one that believes that Cameron is actually weak, not strong on wayward MP’s? Yes, he has told us how he is taking a strong line, but does the evidence back that up? I think not. If you are in the shadow cabinet, according to Cameron, it is sufficient to pay back anything that may not be considered “reasonable” and all will be forgiven. If you are a backbencher, then you may be referred to Cameron’s “kangaroo court”, if you have been a good boy or girl, but a little greedy, then you may be asked to pay some money back, but you will be exonerated. On the other hand, if you are a bit of a maverick, then Cameron will use this as an opportunity to get rid of you. At least that is my take on it.

So, are we to believe that tough man Cameron is going to tell all burglars and car thieves that so long as they return their ill-gotten gains, then they will be forgiven and can get on with their lives? Is it possible that Cameron’s so called tough approach is a bit of a misnomer, designed to deflect attention. A cynic might suggest that by telling everyone that he is a bit of a tough guy, he has successfully diverted attention and at the same time, ensured that it is not the court of public opinion that decides on whether an MP has misbehaved, but the court of David Cameron.

Sorry to all those that like Cameron, but I just don’t trust him, the more I see him in action, the more he gives off the air of an opportunist. I have noticed that whilst he says a lot, if you dissect what he has said, it is rarely tangible of even measurable. I really want to believe that Cameron and the Conservatives are a worthy alternative to the discredited Brown, but if I am honest, there is little that he had done or said that impresses. I think it will just be more of the same. I recognise that because I so want Brown gone, I am almost prepared to accept that the devil himself could do a better job…..but, I said almost! No matter how much we may want to have this country put back on track, we cannot just will someone to succeed, they first of all have to have the wherewithal to make it happen, and I do not see that in Cameron.

Also, where has all the talk of reform gone? Cameron is pushing Brown into an early general election, great, but not before we have had some electoral refirm. What is the point of being able to put in a new government if we are obliged to accept the people put before us by the party machine? That is not democracy. It means that our choice is limited to our preferred party, not candidate. If Cameron wants the people to support an early election, then he must allow the people to select their preferred candidate at the next election, not afterwards. We all know that when party’s win power they seem to forget about everything that said to get them there.

Boycott the mainstream parties

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I have often advocated to friends and colleagues that the best way to deliver a hard-hitting message to politicians is to vote for fringe parties rather than mainstream. The reality is, at least for the most part, leaders of the main parties take our votes for granted. They know that there is a hardcore of supporters, but it is floating voters that really decide results, so that is who they target with populist policies. The thing that they fear most, is something that upsets the status quo, that is, the voters responding in an unpredictable or uncontrolledable way. Whether we like it or not, most voters are predictable, the mainstream parties like that.

This is perhaps why Lord Tebbit urged disaffected voters to “teach the big parties a lesson” by endorsing one of the smaller parties. Now this has been admitted by a former Conservative Party Chairman, perhaps my friends and colleagues will start to realise that a vote for a fringe party is not a wasted vote. As a fellow blogger stated in a recent post; “Politicians of all parties would do well to listen. They rule by consent, not as a right. The public could scupper all of their plans by simply voting for fringe parties, it may not give us a joined up government, but lets be honest, we haven’t had one of those for generations!”. There is no need to vote for extremist parties, in the EU Election there are quite a number of choices, including, but not necessarily limited to; UKIP, the Greens, the English Democrats, the Christian Peoples Alliance, NO2EU, Libertas, and the Jury Team.

Truth be told, MEP’s have very little power, so using the European elections to deliver a message to our domestic politicans carries very little risk and a great deal of upside. I know that I may be criticised for this comment, but the real power in the European Union lies with the unelected Commissioners, not the MEP’s. Our domestic MP’s have disappointed us, many have either abused or stood by whilst others abused an expense system that was actually designed to be abused….by the abusers! Ironic isn’t it! – Clearly our MP’swere quite prepared to treat the very people that elected them with contempt, but why not, they only needed us once every 5 years?

I dislike being taken for granted, both in terms of my goodwill and my vote and I am sure many people will feel as I do. So maybe we should all consider delivering a very explicit message to the mainstream parties, that we cannot, nor will we be taken for granted. And, if they don’t start to listen following the June 4th results, then there is a very real possibility that people power will ensure that the vast majority of current MP’s will lose their seats at the next election and I mean from all parties. If existing MP’s are unwilling to listen, especially those from New Labour, then I will consider standing as an independent MP and I will urge others to follow suit. If there are enough independent MP’s, the people of this country may actually regain their voice, because massive majorities will be replaced by the need to gain a consensus. Authoritarian rule will be replaced by a democratic process. Now that would be nice.

I am happy to be accused of being naive. But I will say this, MP’s abused their expenses because we let them, we assumed that they could be trusted to self-regulate. We have accepted an electoral system that favours the larger parties, a system that provides these party’s with massive majorities, even if they get just 35% of the vote, in turn we get what amounts to single party rule. The ruling party, as evidenced by the New Labour Party Machine, want ever more state power and control over the people. New Labour, for example, has become completely disengaged and out of touch with the people, they have introduced a raft of  new laws, well over 3,500 in 12 years, many removing long-held rights to privacy and liberty and the New Labour delivery has become authoritarian, not inclusive. 

If we have to vote for fringe parties, or independent candidates to deliver a harsh lesson to our self-serving MP’s and political parties, then I am up for it. I want to return to a democratic process where our views are taken into consideration, not one where we are controlled or spied on; I want our government to be truly representative and, above all, I want to feel proud of our democracy, our politicians and our government….and I am sure many people would agree with those sentiments, so lets take the “necessary action” to repeat the overused phrase by our illustrious leader…and “do what’s right” to use another!

Does Gordon Brown throw his toys?

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Well, first of all, I guess we all have episodes where we lose our tempers and throw our toys, so if the rumours are correct, should we judge him harshly? Well, in my humble opinion, the answer is yes!

According to the respected Bloomberg, current and former aides of Gordon Brown have claimed that he is prone to throwing around Nokia phones, pens, staplers and once, even shoved a printer onto the floor. It is claimed that this had lead to a sort of “gallows humour”. These rumours were fueled when a spokesman, asked about the claims, refused to issue an absolute denial, instead he said “This is not an account I recognise”. Not what we would expect if the suggestion was so outrageous.

Needless to say, the rumours have persisted and today at PMQ’s Gordon Brown was asked by a Conservative MP  what the government intends to do about “bullying in the workplace”,  given the complaints about a “senior Whitehall manager” throwing mobile phones and printers around and swearing at switchboard operators. Gordon Brown looked furious, in fact, it was probably just as well he didn’t have anything to throw, but he moodily responded by saying: “All complaints are dealt with in the usual manner.”

Nobody likes a bully and if the rumours are true, then Brown must resign immediately, because all joking aside, this is not what we would expect of the person that is supposed to be running our country. Temper tantrums are a sign that the individual is no longer in control and that is the last thing we need in this country, even if it is just for a few minutes. Although, many, like myself, would say that he is not in control even when he is calm.

The other thing that bullying bosses need to truly understand is, that messengers will invariably provide their bullying masters with a sanitised version of events if they know they are going to be lambasted or assaulted. Therefore, the boss will never be in possession of all the facts, which often explains why the ‘bosses’ appear to be remote, out of touch or insular. Invariably, all bullying bosses fail, unless they have taken the necessary precaution of surrounding themselves with strong, competent managers, who will not take their shit. If Gordon Brown is prone to the types of temper tantrums rumoured, then he is in trouble, because from where I am standing, he is surrounded by yes men (and women), so who would be brave enough to stand their ground? Still, surrounding yourself with weak people is the classic trait of a workplace, egocentric bully.

Of course all this is conjecture, but if it turns out that there is some substance to the rumours, I would urge any ‘victims’ to have the courage to come forward and expose the bullying.

Written by British Politics

6 May, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Gordon Brown asked to resign

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It will probably make no difference at all, but Kalvis Jansons has created a new petition on the No.10 Downing Street website calling for Gordon Brown to resign. http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go/

At least it is a chance for the many, many people that are at their wits end with him and his government, to have their views considered. I for one have already signed up and I would urge other to follow suit, maybe the Labour Party grandees will be reading.

Written by British Politics

25 April, 2009 at 10:52 am

Why do we need SPADS in Politics?

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Ben Wright, Political Correspondent for BBC News makes a robust case for Special Advisers, also knownin Westminster as SPADS, but I am still not convinced. Since New Labour came to power, the number of SPADS has doubled and the cost to the taxpayer is close to £6m per annum, this is not small change. Although SPADS are employed as civil servants, unlike their colleagues, they do not have to be politically neutral. In other words, the public is expected to pay these special advisers who are, in effect, party political.

Of course you can expect a mixed bag of views from political journalists, given some will benefit from their relationships with special advisers and others will not. But that is precisely the point, these SPADS are in a position to influence media reports, in a way that MP’s simply cannot. An off the record briefing with a friendly journalist can, theoretically, lead to the destruction of a fellow MP’s career for party political reasons, all this at the taxpayers expense.

The whole point of the civil service is that it must be impartial. If MP’s feel the need to have special advisers, that are not bound to be impartial, then the cost must come out of their existing ‘allowances’ or central party funds, not the public sector payroll. SPADS, as we now know, are expendable, their job is to do the covert, unatributable work in politics, where a Cabinet Minister or MP cannot afford to get his or her hands dirty. If they succeed and don’t get caught, then they will likely be rewarded with a plumb job in the future. Officially, SPADS are supposed to be the conduit between politician’s and the civil service, but they would say that wouldn’t they? I suspect the reality is more in line with what has been exposed by recent events.

I know that politics is a dirty game, but most of it was done behind closed doors, now it has been exposed to the public. Even MP’s of the Labour Party have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, because many of them have been on the receiving end of negative briefings, more often than not, by a special adviser. This is not a time for a tightening of the code of conduct, it is a time for reflection. Politicians must decide, whether there can be any real justification for special advisers, at a cost of £6m.

Over recent weeks, politics has been damaged, we have witnessed a steady decline in the public’s trust and confidence in members of parliament and this needs to be reversed. Politicians from all sides must clean up their respective acts, SPADS must go, the generous expense allowances must be severely curtailed and brought in line with those of the private sector and every MP should be required to make a renewed public commitment that they serve the public, not themselves. That should be a legally enforceable contract, nothing less will do.

G20 Summit, Sarkozy needs to grow up

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Over the past few days, there have been a number of press reports that French President, Sarkozy is unhappy with the projects on the table for discussion at the G20 meeting in London. Yesterday, there was even a suggestion that he may walk out. Sarkozy is acting up like a spoilt child that must be humoured by his hosts, he is demonstrating an immense lack of maturity and in my view at least, he is embarrassing the people he is supposed to represent. Of course we are all used to political posturing, but this is normally couched in a form of words which does no reflect badly on the country or its representatives. Not for Sarkozy, he appears to be incapable of seeing how his actions reflect negatively on him and France.

I would suggest that he stops sulking like a spoilt child and does his job. The place for the negotiations is at the Summit, not in the press prior to the meeting. Has he learnt nothing from his time in business? Personally I would tell Sarkozy that if he doesn’t grow up, he will be relegated to a creche and given a dummy to suck….assuming that is, Gordon Brown is not too busy!

Written by British Politics

1 April, 2009 at 9:08 am