She was "bullied out of A4e". That's the headline phrase in the Press Association piece on last night's Emma Harrison interview, and it's been taken up by many of the reports. Harrison is a savvy enough media operator to know that if she used the word enough it would become the story. But bullied by whom? Did she say "political types"? Does that mean the members of the Public Accounts Committee who objected to her £8.6m dividend? Or were there people in government who told her to go? I don't know, and don't particularly care. To respond to questions on the failure of her company to fulfil its contract by claiming to have been bullied was only one bizarre aspect of this interview. Of course, if her children were bullied after the revelations, that's regrettable. And it was sad that innocent employees were caught up in it. But most people would have struggled to work up any sympathy for Harrison herself.
Much else was odd. She kept insisting that the figures Channel 4 had (from a "reliable source", said Jackie Long) were wrong, but said she didn't know what the right figures were. If she'd said, correctly, that they were not allowed to disclose the true figures; or if she'd fudged it, as the company did; then that might have been the end of it. But she went from saying that the figures were wrong to accusing the interviewer of bullying her and from there to saying that the programme was making up stories about her for political reasons.
Guru-Murthy kept bringing it back to the facts, but Harrison responded by virtually calling one of the clients a liar. She had invested "£50m of her own money" in the Work Programme. Jaws dropped at that point. The design of the WP meant that providers had to be able to finance it before they got any money back. Whatever bank account A4e's finance came out of, it is difficult to see it as Harrison's own money. But that was the tone of her responses from then on. She hadn't expected the interview to be so unsympathetic, it seems, and was angry. The Work Programme was the most successful they'd ever run. And she herself had helped tens of thousands into work. People came up to her in the street to thank her. She had just been "useful to have a go at".
This was about the failure of the Work Programme, and it could be thought that it became about Emma Harrison instead. It was her name that was trending on Twitter late last night, and people were calling it a "car crash" for her. Now we have to wait for the official figures.