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  • Mandy’s back. But where’s David Miliband?

    by Leon
    3rd October, 2008 at 9:02 pm    

    We knew the reshuffle was coming but we didn’t know it would cause such a media kerfuffle. The return of twice resigned Peter Mandelson has been something of a surprise, but you know how it is; you can keep staking the Prince of Darkness and yet he rises anew.

    Brown must be desperate if he’s calling on someone he’s long felt betrayed him. But as they say needs must when the devil drives.

    Peter Mandelson has said he is surprised but “proud” that Gordon Brown has drafted him back into the cabinet as business secretary.The EU trade commissioner was twice forced to resign from Tony Blair’s cabinet - speaking in Downing Street he joked it was “third time lucky”.

    The PM said he needed “serious people for serious times” and Mr Mandelson had unrivalled experience in global trade.

    One thing that occurs in all the media coverage and the MP’s backing and condemning the decision is the distinct lack of one David Miliband. Just where is the Millipede, what does he think of this turn of events?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

    Update: Interesting piece about Mandy’s return including that he may have been up to his old tricks recently:

    Barely 24 hours after joining the government Mandelson was last night embroiled in his first row after being forced to deny claims he had ‘dripped pure poison’ about Brown in a private conversation with a senior Conservative. Weeks before rejoining the government he is said to have complained that Brown had left Labour vulnerable to the charge of creating a ‘culture of debt’.

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    Filed in: Current affairs,Party politics

    19 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. El Cid — on 4th October, 2008 at 10:34 am  

      A straw poll in my rather large open-plan office showed that I am one of only two people who thought this was a potential masterstroke. But then I am one of only two people in my office who still likes Brown.
      I think he is the real deal. There, I said it!
      Anyway, what bringing back Mandelson does — apart from bringing back a heavyweight electoral strategist, master of presentation, competent business rep — is underline that Brown is not the Stalin/control freak painted by many a shadowy Blairite. It’s not desperate, it’s a grown-up decision.
      At the end of the day, as a former boss once told me, you don’t have to like someone to work with them.
      Some things are just more important than personalities.

      There’s a lot of foul play going on in The Guardian lately, with front page articles based on seditious unnamed cabinet level sources. Such underhand connivance and weasly betrayal smacks of desperation to me.

    2. MaidMarian — on 4th October, 2008 at 2:02 pm  

      El Cid - I suspect that you may be knee deep in bile soon, so I will get in quick and say I more or less agree.

      Mandelson has been on the wrong end of a genuine media hate campaing for so long that sufficient mud has been thrown to stick, be decorated over and start to pull the wall down. It’s the worst of media personality politics and by the standards of the past ten years that my friends is quite a standard.

      As to the Guardian - I stopped buying, it just followed the heard. It found it easier just writing quasi gossip based on unsourced briefings than actually doing some real journalism.

      And before any smart alec says it - no, I an not blaming Labour’s problems solely on the media. I’m just saying they are all a bunch of worthless hacks who spin.

      Returning to the article, possibly Milliband is somewhere quietly preparing for the time that he will move to the leadership at an appropriate time rather than forcing the issue at what is obviously the wrong time. Christ, it’s not the House of Cards trilogy.

      However much the hacks want it to be.

      I hope Mandelson does a great job - I suspect most will want him to fail.

    3. Leon — on 4th October, 2008 at 2:55 pm  

      I suspect most will want him to fail.

      I suspect most will expect him to fail due to his usual corrupt ways…

    4. MaidMarian — on 4th October, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

      Leon - This, ‘corruption,’ of which you speak. Would you care to elaborate?

      PM’s first resignation was about a mortgage about which the senior management of the bank went on the record to the effect that the mortgage application was accurate.

      His second resignation was about relations to the Hinduja Brothers which were subject to an extensive public enquiry (Hammond) which found no evidence of wrongdoing.

      Do you havesome evidence of corruption you would like to share with the group and perhaps the authorities? Or are you just indulging in personality politics?

    5. Leon — on 4th October, 2008 at 6:38 pm  

      He’s not called the Prince of Darkness for nothing matey…

    6. Katy Newton — on 4th October, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

      I think Peter Mandelson is very able. The fact that when he came through the doors of BERR his staff(who remembered him from his previous stint) all cheered speaks volumes about his ability and also his approachability. If nothing else, it means he’s a good manager. Believe me, civil servants aren’t natural cheerers.

    7. Don — on 4th October, 2008 at 7:12 pm  

      He may be a shade louche, but he’s very effective. I’m astonished and quite intrigued to see him back. I’ll wait until his role is more clearly defined, but this could be a good move.

    8. MaidMarian — on 4th October, 2008 at 7:31 pm  

      Leon (5) - So you won’t be elaborating then?

    9. Leon — on 4th October, 2008 at 7:58 pm  

      Believe me, civil servants aren’t natural cheerers.

      Yeah I wondered about that, seems odd that a department which has changes in the many years since he’s ran it would still have so many people who remembered him fondly…I’m tempted to dismiss those images as typical New Labour stage management to be honest.

      MaidMarian, you can’t use Google, you’ve honestly never heard of him being referred to in that way, you know nothing of the role he played in stabbing Brown in the back over the leadership?

      Seriously, are you being purposely obtuse or have you been out of the UK for the last fifteen years?

    10. MaidMarian — on 5th October, 2008 at 1:51 am  

      Leon (9) - ‘Seriously, are you being purposely obtuse or have you been out of the UK for the last fifteen years?’ Hark at you!

      No - I am asking you to tell me about a specific allegation of corruption (your word not mine) that you have made. I suspect that you are indulging in the worst sort of personality politics. That you are letting the hacks and ten years of hatchet jobs attempt to score political points for you. I may be wrong, tell me, what is this, ‘corruption,’ you speak of?

      A nickname means nothing in terms of such a specific allegation. Christ, I did not just spend the evening robbing from the rich to give to the poor. I’m tempted to dismiss you as a professional malcontent, bit would not be so rude or indeed obtuse to raise something as a suggestion and hide behind that.

      I know that a lot of worthless hacks have used the term, ‘prince of darkness.’ I just want to know why it is that you think it is fitting and what these, ‘corruption,’ allegations mean. Seriously, are you just avoiding the question? Or being obtuse?

      Or maybe you are a wannabe hack who thinks that personality politics are actually something more than frivolous - surely not?

    11. Katy Newton — on 5th October, 2008 at 1:54 am  

      seems odd that a department which has changes in the many years since he’s ran it would still have so many people who remembered him fondly

      Not at all - it was only seven years ago that he resigned from the DTI, and that really isn’t a long time in the Civil Service. The politicians chop and change like mad, but civil servants tend to find their niche and stay there. It’s still a job for life for a lot of people.

    12. Leon — on 5th October, 2008 at 2:04 am  

      Hmmm I’m not convinced but hey ho the update in the op looks like the fun and games have begun again!

    13. Katy Newton — on 5th October, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

      I am right dammit. RESPECT MY AUTHORITAAAA.

    14. Leon — on 5th October, 2008 at 4:32 pm  

      Haha! Ok anyone that quotes Cartman (my favourite character in SP) wins kudos with me! :D

    15. Shamit — on 5th October, 2008 at 11:02 pm  

      I wrote an article last year when Brown tide was running high that Brown was no conviction politician while the public would finally think Cameron is one. I stand by that

      Bringing back Mandelson is nothing but finally accepting that without the Blairites they have no hope in hell to remain in power and the party would not look very kindly to Brown, Balls, Cooper and Alexander etc.

      It was quite interesting that both Campbell and Mandelson buried the hatchet with Brown after consulting with Blair. Why did Brown get rid of Beckett and now bring her back? To save his own skin.

      I loved that quote - serious people doing serious jobs during serious times — well why weren’t this people in his cabinet last year? Was running the country less serious then. Come on.

      But on Mandy, he was effective because Blair was the Leader who could communicate, make decisions, and stand by them (irrespective of whether opinion polls said so). With Brown it would be end up being a fruitless exercise.

      Another thing Blair would have made Cameron mince meat in any political debate — but Brown thats another story. And, I am a labour supporter.

    16. shariq — on 6th October, 2008 at 9:26 am  

      Shamit, you are right that Blair was a conviction politician. However I don’t buy your argument that having conviction politicians is more important than having politicians who you broadly agree with. It was Blair’s apocalyptic convictions (borrowing from John Gray) which took us to war in Iraq even though the political, moral or legal justifications weren’t there.

      Also, you seem to point out that Bill Clinton wasn’t a politician even though he proved to be extremely successful.

      I think you definitely have something in your argument, I just think it needs to have some of the creases ironed out.

    17. Shamit Ghosh — on 6th October, 2008 at 9:33 am  


      To me, Bill Clinton is almost the perfect politician you could get — but like any successful American Politician he was too dependent on polls.

      But as far conviction goes and ability to persuade people, Clinton was by far better than anyone else.

      I supported the Iraq war on moral issues — and while I agree it was the wrong war at the wrong time- I think there was enough legal case against Saddam to go to war. If nothing else, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was good source of legal authority.

      I thought after 2nd world war the world agreed never again would the international community look away when a particular leader committed genocide. And, Saddam hussein attacked Kurds — his own people who he was supposed to protect with gas killing numerous women and children in the middle of the night.

      So, there was legal and moral justification — but it was the wrong war at the wrong time and post war Iraq was handled badly — and if the BUsh Administration listened to us the Brits then there would been much less of a blood bath.

    18. Shamit Ghosh — on 6th October, 2008 at 9:41 am  


      My key argument in the article was about conviction politicians doing what they think is best for their party and their country. And not changing minds based on polls. And they are willing to put their jobs on line.

      Thats the biggest difference between Blair and Brown. Look at the 42 days — guess what the Government is withdrawing it today or this week sometime.

      And also, the reason for my post was to highlight that no matter who comes in to help Brown — he is no Leader that you would look upto. He has always put himself before country otherwise he would not have done what he had done in Blair Government.

      Also, the public at large does not like people who stab elected leaders in the back and that would be one reason why Brown and his accolytes would lose the next election.

    19. MaidMarian — on 6th October, 2008 at 1:55 pm  

      Shamit (15) - I’m not too sure about that. If the voters are cleaving from Brown to Cameron it is hardly because Cameron is seen as a bastion of 1980s style ideological purism.

      If anything you could argue that they are cleaving to the most identifiably Blairite option, Iraq war or not.

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