Would you vote Woolas if you were/are called Pratt?

Phil Woolas may be a good party foot soldier, but he’s clearly not ministerial material. Yesterday he not only showed a supreme lack of class when he called Christine Pratt a, erm, prat but, clearly, he has not calculated the unintended impact on any voter possessed of the same surname. It’s unlikely to come up to the 3,590 votes he beat his Lib Dem rival by last time. Mr Woolas is likely to be in severe need of friends come May. If Pratt were my surname, I don’t think I’d be too happy to vote for him, or perhaps given his ministerial status, his political party. As for Mrs Pratt, she may have the last laugh. According to Max Clifford:

Mrs Pratt and her husband were “going to get busy”, going through hundreds of e-mails to look for the evidence to back up her claims.

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  • Phil Woolas is a fine example of: its not what you know. Its who you know.

    I only wish I knew the same people, they could pay my mortgage.

  • With the Tories lead down to about 6 percent if this quareone has any links direct or indirect to the increasingly rattled Davey and his party the gap between them and the Labour party may well fall further.

  • Fabianus

    “If Pratt were my surname, I don’t think I’d be too happy to vote for him”

    I’m thinking of changing my surname to Pratt so that I can also avoid voting for him.

    Christina Pratt is admirable. We need more of such people of integrity. I hope she finds the evidence.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well lets be honest, who doesnt hear the name “Pratt” and not have a laugh? I expect the Pratts are well used to being teased.
    Of greater concern to Mr Woolas’ constituents might be that he looked like a prize Pratt in the company of the fragrant Gurkha Joanna Lumley.

  • FJH

    Mr Woolas problem is he looks like a prize prat in any company.

  • Comrade Stalin

    How can this idiot invoke emails to back up her claims without outing the individuals who complained about bullying ? I can’t imagine the stress they must be going through at the moment not knowing whether or not the helpline they called or emailed, expecting anonymity, is going to out them.

    This person has had her face splashed all over the TV and the newspapers, when it was simply necessary for the helpline to issue a simple press statement confirming that calls had been received. There’s blatant, self promotion going on here. Cack-handed too, which is no doubt why Max Clifford has gotten himself involved.

  • Fabianus


    Bit harsh. She was there by invitation. It’s newsworthy.

    Makes a change from Mensa member Cheryl Cole hogging valuable column inches every fucking day.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fabianus, the BBC report last night showed her touring the sofas of the breakfast talk shows. And yes, accepting an invitation by a journalist to go on camera despite any professional concerns still counts as self promotion.

  • tuatha

    Who or what is Cheryl Cole and why was it invented? I keep seeing the name on site sidebars, usually at the top of the ‘most read’ list which is reason enough not to click on.

  • tuatha

    Cheryl Cole is a lot smarter than Phil Woolas, better to read about her than him. Sure its all showbiz!

  • Fabianus


    If you put it like that…

    I imagine every show host wanted Ms Pratt. Anybody that can dish the dirt on Brown must make good TV.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I think Mrs Pratt has an agenda.
    Self promotion certainly but it looks slightly too orchestrated for my liking.
    Interesting to see Lance Price and Kevin Maguire interviewed together yesterday morning on the BBC sofa.

    Maguire seems to be emerging as a mini-Alistair Campbell ever ready to defend Labour at its most indefensible while Price of course was a dyed in the wool aide to Bliar.
    Price said that Gordon Brown was nasty to secretaries and “people on the door”.

    Now I find that very interesting. Price, Maguire, Tom Bradby, Adam Boulton and the rest in the wider freemasonry of journalism only deal with the heavyweights and their aides. It would be beneath anybody in the Lobby to even speak to or even acknowledge the existence of secretaries and people “on the door”.
    A bit like……cheating.
    A leak from an equal is acceptable to a journalist but NOT to hear tittle tattle from “below stairs”.

    Which brings me to the Great Hall of Stormont.
    All our brightest and best miling around at the stairs hoping to catch a word with Ian McCrea of the DUP, Tommy Burns SDLP, Cathal Boylan of SF or George Savage of UUP……to find out whats going on havent a clue about who really knows stuff at Stormont.

    Those people…sectretaries, junior and middle ranking civil servants are REALLY the people in the know.
    No General is a hero to his batman.
    No Minister is a hero in his “private office”.
    The pleasant Minister can actually achieve a lot…not just at “mandarin level” but even with the lady who pushes the tea trolley. Surprising how far a polite enquiry from a Minister (of any party) about an elderly relative or new grandchild can go.

    It just appears Gordon Brown doesnt have that knack.

  • Spotty Muldoon

    Nah, I wouldn’t vote for him. I’d be too busy crying down a helpline about people laughin at me, an pickin on me, an bein brats.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Is this ridiculous woman’s 15 minutes not up yet?

    Woolas probably shouldn’t have said it out loud, but he’s not wrong.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Would I be guilty of bullying her if I said she looks like a bully?

  • Considering the monstering the Daily Mail, in particular, gave her, what Phil Woolas said or did may count among the least of Mrs Pratt’s many, and self-inflicted problems.

    Moreover, if there is a prize for over-inflation, puffing up anything from LBC must qualify. At least when Cameron tweeted and twatted for Absolute Radio, last summer, there was an element of name-recognition.

  • Spotty Muldoon

    FitzjamesHorse, yes you would. But only if you are pre-school age. If you are over 18 you can’t say she looks like a bully, but you could tell her to get a grip on herself and wise up.

  • Spotty Muldoon @ 11:01 AM:

    Except for the chapter and verse, when, for the second time, she went for a pay-off through the Tribunal Service:

    Mrs Pratt complained that her colleague had failed to communicate sufficiently with her and “at one stage she went over to where Mr Roberts was sitting, thrust her face into his and screamed ‘Communicate!’ very loudly and directly into his ear”. The company secretary Hiroshi Tatsu was asked to mediate between the two, but during a meeting Mrs Pratt was said to have told him, “There’s no point in involving you on this issue as you don’t have a full understanding of English”.

    A co-worker told the tribunal she “became very emotional, describing Mr Roberts as a bastard” and demanded that the company buy out her contract. When they declined, she did not return to work and later filed a suit of constructive dismissal against them. In support of her racial discrimination complaint, Mrs Pratt claimed Sanden “has a strong Japanese culture and that all senior managers, apart from two, are Japanese”.

    Her behaviour “horrified” the company’s managing director Tony Noji, but he decided not to take disciplinary action. The tribunal criticised this, saying Mrs Pratt “could and probably should have been formally disciplined for her conduct” towards both Mr Roberts and Mr Tatsu.

    And there’s, apparently, a lot more. Adrian Melia has a blog-site (running since late last summer, long before the present kerfuffle), dedicated to the principle that:

    If you’re being bullied at work, the last thing you need is help from the National Bullying Helpline.

    Anyone seeking to defend Mrs Pratt should check out what Melia contends. I also find interesting that Findlaw, the solicitors’ professional site, has been as explicit as anyone in revealing Mrs Pratt’s political connexions and modus operandi.

    Oh, and the Oxford English Dictionary‘s first explanation of “prat” is, tersely:

    A trick; a piece of trickery or fraud; a prank or practical joke.

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

  • english republican

    My mother was a pratt, and I come from a very long line of pratts.

    Its a good traditional old English name. I don’t mind in the least being called a prat.

    Kinder genealogists suggest it originally meant someone who was wily and cunning, i.e. someone who is capable of ‘pratting’ or tricking other people. But a more likely link is that it comes from the Anglo Saxon word for buttock.

    True to our genetic heritage, the entire family is well endowed in the arse area…

    Slightly more on topic, I think that if Ms Pratt had an agenda it was to promote her cause and not to let the defenders of bully get away with a brazen bit of under-the-carpet sweeping rather than a pro-Tory Brown-bashing stance.

  • I read the website had closed, at least temporarily while the people running it consider their options.

    It is a shame if it closes permanently, bullying is a problem and many victims need someone to talk to.

  • pippakin @ 07:00 PM:

    That would deserve sympathy were there not better options. Bullying UK is an obvious contender. Even more effective might be to exercise one’s right to join a professional association/trade union; and be hand-held by experts through established procedures.

    Any public moralist needs to be not only clean but Persil: Mrs Pratt and her use of a charity front for a commercial operation does not meet that standard. At worst, she stands open to accusations of exploiting vulnerable folk. Today’s outburst of denigration against her previous supporters is a further strike against her.

    Were it not that she had attempted a shin-kick at an unpopular political figure, she would have very, very few defenders. Perhaps those here who protest her sainthood might reflect on their own motives.

  • Malcolm Redfellow

    I have not defended the lady, actually I am not impressed by her performance to date. The important thing is the issue of bullying. Not everyone is in a position to join a union and not everyone knows where to look.

    The website offered another option for victims and that was a positive thing. I understand it may reopen under new management.

  • english republican @ 06:53 PM:

    I applaud the political declaration in your nom-de-plume. If your final sentence, particularly the bit about to promote her cause, implies the lady’s rank self-interest, you may well be correct there too.

    I welcome your off-topic aside about surnames. Having in adolescence inherited an unfortunate and hurtful nickname, loosely derived from an equally-distinguished maternal surname (don’t grow up in the same village as your mother’s brother), I empathize.

    I must query your suggestion of etymologies. “Prat”, as “a trick, a prank” is good Old English, over a millennium old. The second usage, eight centuries old and about the time English surnames become the norm, is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “cunning, astute” — and very likely the honourable origin of the surname, at least in my book. Sir Thomas Wyatt used it in a later poem:

    Do way, do way, ye lytyll wyly prat!
    Youre slyly slynkyng cannot you excuse.

    The English distrust “cleverness”, so the prejorative is already implicit there.

    The “buttocks” meaning, coming from low slang and always less than literary, is only the third listed in the OED, and its use is substantiated as late as 1567. Its most distinguished employer was Thomas Dekker, identifying the “villanies” of London. It could have been a good chat-up line, in a particular context, back around 1610:

    Doxie oh! thy Glaziers shine as Glymmer;
    By the Salomon, no Gentry Mort hath Prats like thine.