A new book alleges that Gordon Brown, the embattled British prime minister, regularly swears and shouts at key aides, throws chairs around his office, and once grabbed a staffer by the lapels in a fit of rage. An anti-bullying helpline even claims to have received calls from his office. While Brown has denied being a bully, even his allies have acknowledged that he can be "demanding" and "angry" at times. With Brown facing reelection in May, do the accusations cast doubt on his fitness to lead? (Watch Gordon Brown deny accusations of violence)
Bullying is unacceptable in 10 Downing St: No doubt the pressure of being a prime minister is "intense," says an unsigned op-ed in the Times of London. But there can be "no excuse" for "bawling out civil servants and junior staff," as Brown appears to have done. Creating such a "culture of intimidation" is "behaviour unbecoming to the office of prime minister." If Brown can't "bear the load" of the job without losing his temper, "then he should not be doing it."
We need our PM to be passionate: Brown does not "suffer fools gladly," and has probably "shouted at a few people" in his time, says Matthew West at politics.co.uk. But that doesn't "make him a bad prime minister." It is simply evidence that he is "passionate about getting things done," and "impatient to make things happen."
"Gordon Brown is a bully! So what?"
Just the latest gaffe from a weak PM: Brown's problems don't end at claims of bullying, says Sarah Lyall in the New York Times. Just as Gerald Ford was "forever seen as clumsy," Brown is a "public relations disaster." He is "routinely roasted" in the newspapers as a "semi-autistic, mendacious liability." Down in the polls ahead of an election in a few months time, Brown needs a miracle to stay in power.
"British Premier struggles to repaint blotched image"
[UPDATE: A new poll suggests Brown is running 7 points behind the Conservative party and that the upcoming election looks to be "the most exciting electoral contest since Labour seized power 13 years ago."]