Bullying

Image thanks to Sky News

I haven’t read the report and I doubt that very many have either but if you believe what you read then Raab’s removal from office was a political stitch up. It seems that the left wing civil service has colluded to oust a saintly minister whose only crime was to expect people to work. Those on the left seem delighted while those on the right are incandescent. Some are even calling for the whole of the civil service to be sacked. I’m not sure how well that would go and who would actually do the important work they do.

This is a ridiculous notion as there are around 450,000 people employed covering a huge range of services. All of the civil servants that I have met are hard working, committed to their work and avoid talking about their politics no matter how much they are drawn. They understand what it is like to work in a politically charged environment with all its inherent tensions. The majority join as they believe in public service and want to make a contribution.  I imagine that, with that number of people, the service represents the whole gamut of political opinion and that there aren’t nearly half a million left-wing activists.

What happened then? We know that Raab was accused of bullying, with 24 separate accusations originally made against him. An independent investigation was held by Adam Tolley KC (a left-wing activist?) covering eight accusations. Raab, the former justice secretary and deputy prime minister, confirmed that he would resign if the allegations were upheld (he said so live to Sophy Ridge on Sky TV). Two of them were and he did. Whether he did so of his own volition or after some gentle persuasion will eventually come out in the wash.

According to Sky News (filled with left-wing activists?) ‘The report found that Mr Raab “acted in a manner that was intimidating” and “persistently aggressive” and had been “unreasonably and persistently aggressive” in meetings.’

I’m glad he has gone as a minister. Politics aside, there is no place for bullying in any walk of life. Bullying in the workplace is especially insidious as the employer holds significant sway over the employed. The balance of power is one sided and, in the case of ministers of state, it is difficult not to be in awe of the role. They are powerful and influential people and so should be especially careful of the way that they interact with their work colleagues.

Work has to be done, efficiently and effectively. Those responsible have every right to expect that work to be done to a high standard and in a timely manner. Employees have the right to be treated fairly, with respect and to be able to work in a safe and supportive environment. 

There are many ways to address underperformance, bullying is never one of them.

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