Among males it largely came down to humiliation through physical dominance. A sort of figurative alpha mounting. Flashman toasting a fag, a weakling’s tray knocked from his hand, the boot to the backside as he bent to pick it up.

Across the aisle on the girls’ side, the more insidious practice of the lone lunch, the room that goes quiet or the conversation about you but never with you.

Unpleasant, of course. Isolating and, above all, contingent on the victim having nowhere to turn. A powerlessness. A friendlessness. An inequity of position that allows the bully to keep right at it while the subject just becomes the plaything of an idle hour.

But bullying now has become the great indefinable. It is whatever we want it to be. And in a time where everyone is special, where victimhood is ubiquitous, prized, treasured and valued and where, particularly in our public services, the workforce is more the point than the public it serves, where HR is king and the super sensitivities of Generation Y predominate, how easy it is to find oneself accused.

It’s an environment designed for the bully’s photo negative, the ‘cry bully’. The one who makes a practice of accusing everyone of their own sins and dressing it up in victimhood. And almost every modern structure has people who thrive on it.

So, inevitably, to Dominic Raab, forced into angry resignation by a report into claims of bullying by a crying Civil Service which has made rather a practice of deploying it as the weapon of choice against ministers of whose politics they disapprove or whose standards prove just a little too demanding.

I’ve met Raab on several occasions. Not truly, madly, deeply but at sufficient length to notice that he was polite, pleasant and unscarred by the political version of the banker’s ‘smartest guy in the room’ self-delusion. In that regard did he stand out.

Something here smells. Rather like the notion that police officers are allowed to square their notes and accounts of an arrest after the fact, there is a suspicious unanimity in trying to create the impression of a character to which behaviour has conformed.

I wonder if Sunak has done himself a mischief here in offering Raab a choice between the firing squad or his own pearl-handled revolver. Who’s next? Bullies, famously, crumple when stood up to. Much the same applies to cry bullies. Time to try it out.

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