How our leaders download their problems

Today's London Sunday Times has a genuinely alarming story about the latest alleged antics of members of our New Labour Government — alarming because of its revelation not only of a near-criminal waste of public money, but also, even more spine-chillingly, of the conspicuous lack of common-sense and judgement of the idiots concerned.  The story, worth reading in full, begins:

Call my life coach, not a spin doctor

Isabel Oakeshott, Deputy Political Editor

PATRICIA HEWITT and other cabinet ministers are receiving "life coaching" at taxpayers' expense to help them cope with the pressures of government. Chartered psychologists are each being paid an estimated £250 per hour to act as mentors to the health secretary and her senior civil servants.

In a new training technique being used widely in Whitehall, ministers and their staff are assigned personal coaches, whom they are expected to treat as "critical friends", using role-playing sessions to prepare for running the country. A string of other government departments, including No 10, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Transport and the Treasury, are also using chartered psychologists, at an annual cost estimated at several million pounds.

One firm, ER Consultants, teaches ministers and mandarins how to improve their "emotional intelligence" and encourages them to "download" their problems.

Let's hope that it will turn out to be untrue.  But don't bet on it.

Hat-tips: my wife, as usual, and old mate David Tothill. 


2 Responses

  1. Martin Kelly says:


    On the last occasion I had dealings with a 'life coach', when he realised he wasn't going to get what he wanted when he wanted he burst into tears and started shouting that it wasn't fair'.

    Brian comments:  Wonderful!  That must have been deeply gratifying, Martin.  The only self-appointed life mentor, or guru or whatever, who has ever appeared even distantly on my radar screen inflicted horrendous and irreparable harm on someone close to me (whom s/he never even consented to meet), which hasn't done much for my opinion of the profession.  What they are doing to poor old Patricia Hewitt and her lovely colleagues certainly challenges the imagination.

  2. Tim Weakley says:

    The P.M.'s wife was stated at one time to have a 'lifestyle guru', silly woman.  I suppose this is much the same thing.

    Brian comments:  At least that wasn't at public expense, and she holds no elected or appointed public office, so it's really nothing to do with us what she does in her private life.  (I have rather a soft spot for Cherie Booth QC, whose grasp of the principles of civil liberties is a good deal sounder than her husband's.)