Thursday News Review

Peter in print

Labour figures from all sides of the party expressed fury that Lord Mandelson had committed private conversations to print, such as his reporting that Mr Blair believed Gordon Brown to be “mad, bad and dangerous”, and that his then chancellor was “flawed”. Neil Kinnock, the former party leader, was said by a friend to be “spitting”, and John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, “furious”. Lord Mandelson, who was lauded at Labour’s annual conference last year, was warned by some to stay away this year. Political friends and foes urged him to donate a slice of the money he was earning from the book to the party. – The Australian

She argued that Mandelson “knew perfectly well how useless Brown was”, so, by sustaining him as Labour leader, he had fatally undermined the party’s general election chances. In return for his loyalty Mandelson, who “adores pomp and ceremony” was rewarded with the bauble of an honorific title that, to most people, means little. He appeared, she wrote, “like a much-favoured Tudor courtier, stooping under the weight of his gold chains and medallions”. Sieghart concluded with a further jibe at Mandelson’s gross hypocrisy: “The man who ensured that Labour would spend five, possibly 10, years out of power now hopes to capitalise on his tales of those torrid years in government. – The Evening Standard

Mandelson writes that Brown was “unbudgeable” over the subject. “In private, he accepted it was a major issue, but he believed the important argument to get across was about the need for the stimulus to grow our way out of recession.” At a later point Brown railed against any suggestion that he should drop his line of Labour investment versus Tory cuts, saying: “Cuts versus cuts will just kill us! We should not be in this place. We have to move to growth. Don’t give me all this stuff about spending cuts.” – The Guardian

Mr Blair vowed not to be a back-seat driver and to keep out of domestic politics – in public, at least – after stepping down as Prime Minister in 2007. But Lord Mandelson reveals frequent discussions with him over Mr Brown’s performance and the three unsuccessful plots to oust him. His behind-the-scenes role after he left No 10 will anger allies of Mr Brown, who claim Mr Blair reneged on agreements with him struck in 1994 and 2003 to stand down as Prime Minister. – The Independent

The power of 2nd preference

The first to be eliminated was Ed Balls, perhaps surprisingly followed by Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, Diane Abbott was eliminated next and then David Miliband. Ed Miliband was eventually the comfortable victor and note how his lead widens with each round of transfers. Among the MPs we know that David Miliband received the nomination of 81 MPs, Ed Miliband 63, Ed Balls 33, Andy Burnham 33 and Diane Abbott 33. I will expect Diane Abbott’s tally to reduce dramatically in the final reckoning – perhaps to as few as 10. I predict the chief beneficiaries will be David and Ed Miliband although Ed Balls should pick up some from Andy Burnham. – Political Betting

Gay Marriage

Two of the contenders for the Labour leadership, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott, support full marriage equality. Mr Balls, who was rated the most gay-friendly of the five candidates by Stonewall, has not made any statement on the issue but a member of his campaign team told left-wing blog Liberal Conspiracy that he was in favour of the change. – Pink News

Are we nearly there yet?

The Labour leadership election is starting to resemble Tony Blair’s “masochism strategy”. Week after week, the candidates traipse around the country to address the party faithful at various hustings while answering near-identical questions on cuts, Trident, Iraq, immigration and the rest. There will have been 56 hustings by the time the final debate between the five candidates begins on 16 September, on BBC1’s Question Time. But will we still be paying attention? Or even be awake? – The New Statesman

The Labour leadership race is braced for significant movement this week, with unions set to announce which of the five candidates they will recommend to their members. The GMB and Ucatt unions meet to decide their endorsement tomorrow, Unite meets on Monday while Unison and the CWU meet some time next week. – The Guardian

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply