How can the National Bullying Helpline know what it has been claiming?

In amongst all the heat and not very much light over the Gordon Brown and bullying story, I was disturbed by this claim from the National Bullying Helpline’s Christine Pratt:

Ms Pratt added: “Over recent months we have had several inquiries from staff within Gordon Brown’s office.

“Some have downloaded information; some have actually called our helpline directly and I have spoken to staff in his office.”

My view anyway was that she shouldn’t have spoken out – and certainly not said she saw something on TV, was angered by it and so picked up the phone to the media. That’s what callers to phone-in programmes do. The head of a charity dealing with such sensitive and confidential issues shouldn’t just leap into action publicising information because they’ve just been angered by what they’ve seen on the TV.

Particularly when what she’s now saying people have contacted her about doesn’t actually seem to contradict the claim from Peter Mandelson which she says so angered her.

But look closely at what she said: “Some have downloaded information”.

How does she know this? You’d expect people from Downing Street to have visited her site and others when researching bullying. Gordon Brown has given government support to anti-bullying initiatives in the past and where do you think his staff would have gone for their research? To the internet and to anti-bullying websites of course.

So how does she know that people downloading this information were really people concerned about being bullied themselves?

Given all the words of journalists being spilled over the story at the moment I’m a bit surprised no-one seems to have put this question to her. It’ll be interesting to see what her answer is if or when it is.


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