The tribalism evident in so much of the right-leaning press and other media covers up so effortlessly and effectively for the shortcomings of their heroes - until grim reality kicks in and they find that the boot is well and truly on the other foot. So it was for the fawning supporters of Priti Patel, inexplicably made Home Secretary by alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and allegations of bullying against her.
They had all backed Ms Patel: from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, through the right-wing press, to the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, to Brendan O’Neill of Spiked, so named because it should have been long ago, to the gullible Tory excuser Charlotte Gill, now of ConHome, they said Philip Rutnam was wrong and Ms Patel was right.
Even Bozo The Clown got his pal Michael “Oiky” Gove to back her as the latter stood at the Dispatch Box and announced a Cabinet Office inquiry, which would be overseen, by complete coincidence you understand, by Himself Personally Now. But then came a most inconvenient intervention from the BBC. Ms Patel had bullying previous.
“A former aide to Priti Patel received a £25,000 payout from the government after claiming she was bullied by the then employment minister. Legal correspondence seen by the BBC alleges the woman took an overdose of prescription medicine following the alleged incident in 2015. The DWP did not admit liability and the case did not come before a tribunal” tells the Beeb’s report. And there was more.
“Legal correspondence seen by the BBC show a junior employee at the DWP brought a formal complaint of bullying and harassment against the department, including Ms Patel, after being dismissed from her role in October 2015 … The staff member also alleges she was told the decision to dismiss her a year later was not made on performance grounds but because Ms Patel did not ‘like [her] face’”. And more.
“Ms Patel had shouted at the woman in her private office and told her to ‘get lost’ and ‘get out of her face’, the correspondence alleges. Ms Patel is described as having acted ‘without warning’ and with an ‘unprovoked level of aggression’, in the woman's formal grievance complaint”. And another bad sign is that the press is now reporting the story.
The Murdoch Times tells readers “Sacked Civil Servant took overdose ‘after bullying by Patel’”, while the Daily Mail goes with “Priti Patel aide ‘took overdose after claims she’d been bullied’” and the Guardian spells out the gravity of Ms Patel’s situation by asserting “Pressure on Patel grows after new bullying claim”. And it gets worse.
Free Sheet Metro makes the story its lead, telling “PATEL ‘BULLY VICTIM’ TOOK AN OVERDOSE … Civil Servant collapsed at work, legal letters claim”. So where are all those slavish, sycophantic supporters now? Don’t all shout at once.
Priti Patel just moved a little closer to the Exit door. I’ll just leave that one there.
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