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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Blowing in the wind

BORIS JOHNSON has clearly turned indecision into a fine art. He refuses to sack Priti Patel over the “bullying” scandal whilst at the same time letting his minions brief the media of his intention to downgrade her at the next Government reshuffle in the New Year. The Home Office scandal has already led to the resignation of the Government’s independent adviser, Sir Alex Allan, a retired civil service mandarin whose report concluded that Ms Patel’s approach “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying”.

There’s no doubt that Priti Patel did breach ministerial standards. She’s got form on this. Three years ago a former aide received a £25,000 pay-out from the government after claiming she was bullied by Priti Patel who was then employment minister. In February, Sir Philip Rutnam, the Home Office’s most senior official, resigned alleging that Ms Patel’s conduct towards staff included “swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands”.

Far from being an exclusively fascist virtue bullying is, in fact, a vital part of capitalist culture. Until the late 1960s it was the basis of discipline at school from the teachers down to the prefects and their class-room toadies. It remains the principle behind order in the armed forces throughout the bourgeois world. In factories and offices it’s called “Management’s right to manage”, which can only be mitigated by strong union organisation.

Whilst Johnson needs as many friends as he can get at the top table as his Government faces an uncertain future now that Trump’s gone, the question of bullying goes right to the heart of the psyche of the ruling class.