There seems to be an overwhelming feeling amongst those who love Labour to see Mandelson's appointment as the return of the Prodigal. Michael White in the Guardian says that he always seemed to know what was the right thing to do in a crisis. Well for a bloke who is so bloody clever he was really stupid over his mortgage dealings, not to say dishonest, and again over his relationship with the mega rich Indian brothers.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
When all is said, and there is still a lot to be said given that it's Sunday tomorrow and the papers will be full of it, he has to perform. It's all fine and dandy for the pro Mandy columnists to say how clever he is and how he is so well placed with business leaders because of what happened in Brussels. How great a trade secretary he was (don't forget that was seven or eight years ago and a lot of water has flowed under that particular bridge), but there are flaws in his character that will eventually do for him.
His arrogance and his vanity knows no bounds and while it might be that he's a lot more likable in person he doesn't come over well with the electorate as a whole. Some wag yesterday suggested that Brown's masterstroke was that he had brought in someone to the cabinet that the public hated even more than the PM himself. True but dangerous.
There's one other aspect of this whole affair that will not play out well. There's no mutual trust between the two men. Of course some might say that Mandelson is Labour to his roots and he will die fighting on the barricades for what he believes in. I'm not so sure. He is now a peer, and as the song says, "they can't take that away from me". He doesn't have a seat to defend or worry about which means he will not ever have to face his adoring public ever again. Trust is essential whether it's in relationships, business or politics and Brown should be aware that whatever suits Peter best is what Peter will do. . .trust me.
The Blairites in the cabinet and on the back-benches are no doubt delighted with his return; similarly with all the talk of Alastair Campbell being back in the fold. They would all do well to remember one thing – none of them are the real thing. Blair had style, he had leadership abilities and he had what it takes to win the beauty contest that is now British politics. None of them and especially Brown have the ability to lead.