Anyone with a marginal grasp of the current electoral situation should have caught a glimpse of just how infantile the press can be this week in this, the so-called modern age of the moral high ground. The popular misconception or preconceived desire to ‘fight for the public interest’ by revealing and revelling in celebrity scandal is a vice not uncommon to the fourth estate fold. The newest victim, one who recurs as the main source of our national woes ad nauseam, Gordon Brown, has had a fresh portion of allegations slammed onto his jam-packed plate of complaints. And what is this new notion of the Prime Minister’s disgrace? Why, none other than playground protests denouncing the wicked ways of the ‘bully boy’ at no.10.

The PM is no stranger to misfortune. Over the weary course of his appointment to the peak of government power Brown’s image has been overwhelmed like a body caught in a restless coastal undertow. From general gripe about his overall competency in office to the more specific belittling of his spelling skills, Brown has barely been given a chance to surface for air before being sucked back to the seabed of the press domain to be clipped all over by its eager-to-eviscerate crab claws. With this nefarious pantomime of smearing and jeering in mind, it hardly seems worth noting the details of this latest case of fang-bearing by the political pundits, let alone preparing an entire thesis as to the exactitudes of this alleged ministerial malice (see the Daily Mail’s 22/02/10 inordinate article here – just look, don’t read!)

I’ll briefly defer to the comic detail tied-in with this penny dreadfulesque palaver: The Observer serialised extracts from Andrew Rawnsley’s book, The End of My Party, which indicated this supposed bully mentality in Brown, and Christine Pratt, founder of the National Bullying Helpline, brought ‘actual’ allegations to the attention of the media, based on “three or four calls at least” from people apparently working under Brown. Sound daft? If it doesn’t the populist press has won itself another fleeting victory.

Of course this sort of flimsy jabbing at the PM made the front page of many a national, despite translating like a sort of anti-Labour propagandist’s fondest dream. It’s also like Marmite: some love it, while others hate it. I, personally, condemn it. Those with a staunch faith in the role of journalism shouldn’t let this banal sketch-gone-awry trick them: the press is necessary. Floppy slander is not. And in any case, whoever said being a cog in the government machine was “stress-free”? Oh, that’s right: Mrs Pratt! The very woman who deemed this Jenga tower trifle important also said that staff in government should “work in a stress-free environment”. I’m sorry, but how in the name of Churchill would they get anything done without someone stressing the point that theirs’ is GOVERNMENT work for the good of the COUNTRY? I’d say stress was requisite.

It makes you wonder how the incumbent party, present and future, conceives of concretising real interest in politics in the younger generations, as well as keeping older ones on tap, when the predominant interest of the press in them is claims of bullying and the like. Most kids have been bullied somewhere along the line; I suffered at the hands of bullies, and yet here I am – complaining about complaints of bullying within government. Brown himself probably endured his fair share of mega-wedgies as a kid, but you don’t see him rousing the press to vilify his childhood nemeses. It only serves to sully the good name of government, which is habitually dragged through the mud anyway, when you apply primary school expressions of fear and loathing to its highest official. I hope this nonsense is put to sleep as soon as possible. The press should stop disguising soft news as hard news before people accidentally start listening to it.