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Monday, November 13, 2017

Fear and loathing in Cardiff Bay?

The latest claims about the operation of government in Cardiff Bay are both sensational and deeply disturbing.

Allegations of a culture of a toxic culture and bullying associated with the First Minister's office by former Minister, Leighton Andrews, have been followed by verifying claims by former Special Advisor, Steve Jones.

Mr. Jones put out a statement in which he said: "Ministers were undermined by senior advisers playing power games and seeking to exert unreasonable control over government and the first minister himself," he said.

Some ministers, including Mr Sargeant, "would have their diaries unreasonably monitored and questioned, their policy proposals shelved and direct access to the first minister blocked".

"It went way beyond any 'office politics' or personality clashes," he said.

Mr Jones said at one stage he intended to resign because of the effect on his wellbeing but changed his mind when the first minister urged him to reconsider.

"Things improved for a few months, then the poison returned and it began to engulf others - advisers and ministers alike.

"It was clear that all this was getting Carl down."

One Labour AM has tweeted that he believes it to be 'reprehensible that people are using tragic circumstances to settle old scores'. And yet the only person being damaged here is Carwyn Jones.

Neither Steve Jones nor Leighton Andrews have called on Carwyn to resign, whilst both were amongst his strongest supporters for many years. I find it difficult to believe that revenge is their main motivation.

Steve Jones and Leighton Andrews were part of a tightly knit grouping in Cardiff Bay that included Carl Sargeant and at least one other Minister. They could often be seen out and about in the tea room, restaurants and pubs after close of business in the Assembly. They have a unique insight into the workings of Welsh Government.

I have no doubt about their sincerity and integrity and if the atmosphere they describe contributed in any way to Carl's death then it must be investigated as part of the independent inquiry being set up by the First Minister.

Wales is a small place. The Welsh Government is a tiny bubble of activity in which its members are under tremendous pressure and scrutiny. If devolution is to succeed we cannot afford for that government to be dysfunctional. If there is a rot it needs to be cut out.

We should not forget either the three women who made allegations against Carl. Their claims also need to be looked into so that everybody can have closure. I am not sure I have seen any statement by the Labour Party as to whether that will happen or not.
Dear Peter. The events of last week are tragic and as a victim of serious workplace bullying have affected me dreadfully. I started my blog 6 months ago to raise awareness of workplace bullying in Wales and to provide support for victims ( as an aside as a result of me publicising my blog on twitter Carl Sargeant followed me)

At the end of September I sent an e mail to every AM and every Wales based MP asking them to speak out on the issue of workplace bullying as the theme of this year's World Mental Health Day was mental health in the workplace. I also sent it to the media. I had 4 replies to that e mail and that was that. Workplace bullying is a taboo that must be broken. Ironically last week's tragedy in Wales may have finally done that!

Workplace bullying must be stopped. Please read my blog when you have a chance, please help me promote it and please help me to spread the word in whatever way you think. No more lost lives https://workplacebullyingwales.wordpress.com/
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