Sunday, 5 June 2011

Bullying the weak and vulnerable

The Panorama programme has created quite a stir. Among the most disturbing aspects was the way the chain of command simply ignored the claims of the whistleblower. Manager, Manager’s manager, Care Quality Commission (three times), all did not respond. 
Why is this? 
There has been a cultural shift in the collective attitude towards treating people badly. Programmes such as ‘The Apprentice,’ various Gordon Ramsay efforts, numerous reality tv programmes and the execrable Jeremy Kyle show make money by publicly humiliating and abusing participants. Many of these programmes appear on the same channel as Panorama. They collectively have helped make bullying acceptable - in the name of entertainment. Blood and circuses.
Politicians harrumph and huff and puff whenever these too common tales occur. “Lessons learned” and “Policy review” will be trotted out......and very little changes. Whistleblowers continue to face incredible difficulties and indifference from managers and the authorities. 
“All did not respond,” is damning. Not even an acknowledgement. To collude with bullying is disgraceful. It creates the environment where such horrible things become acceptable. From personal experience it is clear the status quo prevails and the powers that be protect the manager in place until the situation becomes totally indefensible. Then the hand-wringing begins all over again. 
In the same week it was reported that a manager who had over 40 allegations of bullying against him and who had reportedly driven out many good staff was leaving his job early with his (excellent) pension protected.  
Do we have a new breed of spineless gutless paper-pushers in charge? Where are people with humanity and decent values? It is an indictment of what we have become that the weak and vulnerable are so at risk.  
A civilised society? Hardly.

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