Although virtually everyone, including me, is against the dreadful people who ran the Care Quality Commission, I do notice that something ridiculous has crept into all reporting of such rows. This is the unquestioned assumption that the ‘whistleblower’ is in the right. Other recent examples include the mysterious anti-CIA and anti-GCHQ man, Edward Snowden, the police who appear to have invented what Andrew Mitchell told them at the Downing Street gates, and anyone who ever accuses anyone in any position of authority of having performed acts of paedophilia.
We know that many people in big organisations have base motives for covering things up, and we excoriate them for doing so. But we seem not to understand that others may have base motives — revenge, disappointment, a craving for celebrity or money — which encourage them to betray confidences in their work. If you think of real workplace situations in which people try to reveal bad things to the outside world, you will recognise that the disinterested pursuit of justice is not usually what is at stake.
Hence the importance of payoffs in our culture. A great many potential blowers shut up when the bosses stuff their whistles with silver. We do need to understand that if everyone feels entitled to blow the whistle on a colleague every time he does something he considers wrong, no one will ever want to work in any organisation ever again.Tags: Edward Snowden, Whistleblowers