Tears before bedtime...
The most remarkable thing about the recent Rawnsley book is how very unremarkable its basic thrust is – at least to journalists. Stories of Brown being, basically, bonkers have been circulating for getting on for decades now. Tom Bower’s biography of him was unbelievably stark in its portrayal of a man who is almost entirely a stranger to restraint (I’m trying to avoid using words like proportion, as they seem a little unfair). So stories of his ungovernable rages – of his turfing secretaries out of their chairs, of his hurling nokias, of his stapling his own hand – are not just familiar, they’ve even been reported by Bloombergs.
But looking beyond this, these stories are still extraordinary. Leaving aside whether shouting at staff, “picking on the weakest person in the room, usually the weakest woman in the room” and generally being the worst boss imaginable is bullying (I’m of the opinion that unless this behaviour is consistently targeted at the same people, then it’s not bullying – it’s just being a shit) what on earth do these stories tell us about what sort of person Brown is? Here’s another goodie – Brown phoning Tony Blair in reaction to a piece by Alan Milburn that suggested Blair remain as Prime Minister:
'You put fucking Milburn up to it,' Brown raged down the phone. 'This is factionalism! This is Trotskyism! It's fucking Trotskyism!'
It’s demented, that’s what it is. Everyone, myself included, just rolls their eyes now at each new story of just how weirdly enraged Brown gets, over everything and anything. You even have people like Peter Mandelson suggesting that it’s a good thing that the Prime Minister throws tantrums like a sugar-addled three year old – that it shows passion and commitment. But looked at dispassionately this really is seriously odd behaviour. Five more years?