I listened to the Today programme’s coverage of the National Bullying Helpline allegations that they had received calls from people claiming to work at 10 Downing Street with mounting incredulity this morning.
First, the Chief Executive of the Helpline denied that Gordon Brown had been mentioned in any of the alleged calls, despite the impression she had deliberately created in earlier interviews.
Then, she admitted that she couldn’t say how many calls had purportedly been received and that she hadn’t spoken to any of her staff who had received the supposed calls.
Finally, she conceded that those calling the helpline were encouraged to use a commercial service run by her husband and herself, if they wanted to take their concerns about bullying any further.
It had always seemed bizarre that a serious charity should breach its own client confidentiality in this way – even Iain Dale had noticed this point. And not surprisingly the patron of the charity has now resigned over this issue.
I have now read Adam Bienkov who raises a series of concerns about the National Bullying Helpline. In particular, he highlights their links to the Conservative Party. He also questions whether they are a functioning charity given that they are 206 days late in filing their latest accounts with the Charity Commission, that according to the last accounts they had filed they only had £852 of income, and that the people behind the charity run a “bullying business” that sells bullying investigations, that registered the charity’s website and that receives referrals from the charity.
The whole episode gets flakier and flakier.
It certainly reflects poorly on the BBC’s editorial judgement in not questioning the original story before running it so prominently.
But am I alone in suspecting that this smacks of a Conservative Party “black” operation. I hope I am wrong. Otherwise, we are in for a really nasty election campaign that will do nothing for the democratic process.