I’m not a reporter. No one relies on me for my opinion. I’m not sought after for my angle. Still, I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to fire up RealPlayer and listen to the quite amazing Peter Mandelson on this morning’s Today Programme. The smell of political cordite is strong here. The man’s been off the British political scene for half a decade and yet he can fly back into town and secure the Nation’s premier political interview slot as if he’d never been away and, while he’s at it, exercise real influence (as if from beyond the grave) on the succession. Some things make me glad I didn’t choose a political career. Peter Mandelson – modern politics’ most formidable operator – is one of them. This is the kind of breathtaking political media you know you’re going to want to save to play back to your kids.


  1. Strange, since when I listened to the Mandy on the Radio, I thought two things; Prince of Darkness and everything he says of obviously bullshit targetted at his own ends.

    An evil man who’s activities have damaged this country extensively.

    If I saved this interview to play to my children it would be to illustrate how New Labour broke the back of the English.

  2. With Mandelson you’ve always got to ask what is he up to, at least to an extent. But, even allowing for that I thought it was an incredible interview.

    I have to hope (as a Labour Party member) that what he said wasn’t done as part of and attempt to keep the internecine warfare of the last period going. And judging from the variety of headlines the interview generated it might not be.

    Either way I’m not sure I see how it did anything to the back of the English.

  3. It’s strange how, as we see here, Mandelson riles some people. One would have to spend some considerable time contextualising this interview for tomorrow’s children to be able to see how it illustrates New Labour’s breaking of England’s back.

    On the other hands, it’s quite easy to explain how the Tories broke Britain. Mass unemployment (when I graduated in 1991, not one of my cohort had a job to go to), high interest rates, inflation and negative equity all at the same time. Many of us were ashamed to be British because Britain supported Pinochet in Chile, Saddam in Iraq and defended the Apartheid regime from international censure while insisting Mandela was a terrorist. The poll tax caused riots. The Scots had voted for devolution, but their wishes were ignored, the GLC and Metropolitan councils were abolished because their constituents refused to vote Tory… sorry it’s so easy to slip into writing a long, long list of all that was wrong with Tory Britain and this isn’t the place.

    In fact, and as Naughtie notes, this is a surprisingly frank and honest interview. Mandelson’s assertion that Brown never came to terms with losing the leadership to Blair may be correct, but I’d still be happy to support Brown as successor and while he shies away from endorsing Brown outright, he makes clear his view that he’d be as successful as Blair.

  4. Still harping on about the 1980’s. Ancient history to most of us these days, lets worry about today.

    Labour’s and the Conversative wets policy of EMU/ERM lead to the mess of high Interest rates and Inflation. About the only good thing about Brown is his hatred for European integration.

    Thatchers economic reforms of the 80’s lead to the economic stability of today. Brown’s idiotic micro-management of the economy is beginning to undo those reforms and that is a current danger.

    Lots of jobs in dead end economic sectors were lost and lots of jobs in other sectors were created. The unemployment results from the people whom were made redundant not being private sector minded and being able to move into the new economic sectors. People who could do that prospered.

    “Either way I’m not sure I see how it did anything to the back of the English.”

    Straightforward, Mandy’s interview like most of the Labour conference (from how it was reported) concentrated on internal Labour politics and said very little about what they are actually doing to the country. The general public is letting the Socialist cancer strike at the very heart of our government, society and values.

    Distract with some character debate whilst our economy future is destroyed by the mad Scotsman, the lying Scotsman and the arrogant Scotsman.

  5. I think Steve Ferris deserves a response, because his last comment is rather nonsensical.

    The Thatcher years remain relevant because Conservatives still mythologize them. For example, when Cameron admitted the Tories got it wrong on Apartheid last month, Sir Bernard Ingham boomed: ‘I wonder whether David Cameron is a Conservative.’

    Thatcher’s legacy (specifically, how far it can be abandoned without losing the traditionalist vote) defines current debate within the Conservative Party.

    The idea that only the people who were not ‘private sector minded’ could not find jobs in the recession of the early 1990s (your misuse of the apostrophe shows how your own education suffered) is simply not true. For example, many universities could not attract private sector employers to recruitment fairs at all; the few available jobs were all in the public sector as after more than decade of misrule the economy was on its knees.

  6. Thatcher wasn’t perfect, but Britain has a massive amount to thank her for and it is amusing that whilst Blair has admitted this, Cameron seems unwilling to do so.

    The Thatcher government kept an open dialog with the South African’s when everyone else was running around demonstrating and not having any effect. I can remember a article some time back where good old PW Botha said he’s meetings with the Thachter government did more to change his mind than anyone else. The left argues dialog, but when Thatcher tried dialog it threw the toys from the pram. Double standards, the left? Never!

    The economy was poor for a time, european intervention, worldwide recesssions and a much needed realignment of the UK economy was a painful time for many people. The end result has been almost 16 years of economy stability and success. The privatisations, the deregulation, economic independence, the crippling of the unions. Thatcher wasn’t perfect, but did a fantastic service to the country.

    The evils of New Labour have been unravelling these reforms that will bring this country to its knees soon enough. It that was not enough, when they are not breaking up the country and mortgaging its future they strip away our rights. If the Tories had tried to follow the same road you could rest assured that our loony left media types and bone ideal left wing protestors would be on the streets. I’ve never seen Blair visit a single injured solder, you people who voted for Blair should hand your head in shame. Whilst the Tories might not have withdrawn from Iraq/Afganistan, they do at least have some idea of how the armed forces should be used, run and financed. Thatcher individually wrote to every single family who lost someone in the Falklands war. Blair and New Labour doesn’t even acknowledge them.

    Back to Cameron, Cameron has to be seen to be nice and people have believed what the media has said, Thatcher was bad. He has to say that, whatever his real beliefs.

    But all this said, I am enjoying watching the Labour party decend into it’s own version of hell. Roll on the leadership contest and the Reid, Brown and possibility Johnson bloodbath 🙂

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