Exclusive extracts from the paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s book, the Third Man.

The paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s book, the Third Man: life at the heart of New Labour,  is published  on Monday. It contains a new chapter dealing with events since the hardback was first published last summer.

The new chapter includes Mandelson’s thoughts on Ed Miliband’s victory, the impact of the new government and the AV campaign, among other ruminations of the former cabinet minister, EU commissioner and prince of darkness.

In the extracts below, published exclusively here on Uncut for the first time, he talks about David Miliband’s failure to “take the gloves off and mobilise” Labour’s natural New Labour base.

And he rues David Miliband’s refusal to do the deal with Ed Balls that Mandelson says would have secured a  David Miliband victory.

Mandelson on why David Miliband lost…

[David] was fearful that if he championed a renewed New Labour vision too strongly, he would be living up to Ed’s stereotype of him as an establishment figure tied to Tony’s coat-tails. He ended up in something of a no-man’s land – wanting to be the New Labour standard-bearer, but terrified that this would lose him many activists’ votes. He did defend New Labour’s  achievements when his brother started to single out a number of them for criticism. But I felt then, and still feel, that he missed an opportunity to take the gloves off and mobilise those in the broader party membership who still celebrated our three terms in Downing Street – and who would have followed a leader with a plan to update and reinvigorate our governing programme rather than bury it.  (p.xxii)

Mandelson on why Ed Balls could have made a difference…

David and I did not speak during the campaign… I understood and respected his desire to go it alone, although in a roundabout way I did pass on one suggestion. It was that he should reach out to the other Ed: Ed Balls.  I had come to know Ed Balls – and in our later years in government to respect him – as a tough, pragmatic politician. I was certain his overriding concern would be to ensure that Labour escaped being relegated to another long spell in opposition. Tactically, there was an obvious interest for him and David, two political heavyweights able to balance their respective strengths, to work together. Although it was fairly clear from the start that Ed Balls was not going to win, he did have significant support to deliver. I knew Gordon would be leaning hard on him to throw this support behind Ed Miliband, since his distrust and resentment of David’s previous on-off leadership challenge had never abated. A concerted effort by David to forge a future leadership alliance with Ed Balls might well have allowed him to carry the day. David was not persuaded, however, both because he did not want to be placed under any obligation to Ed, and because, until the end, he felt he had enough strength on his own to win. (p.xxiii)

The paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s book, the Third Man: life at the heart of New Labour, is published by HarperPress on Monday.

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7 Responses to “Exclusive extracts from the paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s book, the Third Man.”

  1. Leah S says:

    Why do I get the impression he’s just (rather stupidly,IMO) tried to stir up things between the two brothers and failed? They may well have been attacking each other during the race, but blood is thicker than water and all that…

    I mean, David M siding with *Balls* against his own *brother*? Really, Mandy? Really was losing his touch towards the end, there..

  2. Tacitus says:

    10p says there is no mention there of why he joined the Labour Party and not the Lib Dems. As a human being I am sure he is a delight, but as a politician he nearly helped destroy this party and turn it from being a socialist alternative to a wimpy social democratic alternative.

  3. Alex Ross says:

    @Tacitus – Probably because the Lib Dems didn’t exist when he joined the party??

    Nearly destroyed the part / Helped win three consecutive terms of government – I suppose it depends which side you take!

  4. steve howard says:

    Mandy. You did enough damage to the Party when you were in office and god only knows how you manged to wriggle your way back in. I for one would have seen you banished without trace after the first scandal. Blair was either too weak to see it or you had something special to offer him? It was people allowing you to once again come back in from the cold that possibly led many other MPs to assume that anything goes in expenses and you should be sidelined once and for all . You should leave politics to those with a modicum of honesty and moral judgement and keep out. Any backing from you or comments, during, or leading up to the next Labour campaign are sure to sound the death knell of the party’s chances.
    Now go and enjoy your pension in a rocking chair on a verandah in a foriegn country and leave the present labour party to reinvigorate itself. It doesn’t need your ‘help’.

  5. Andy Ray (of Wimbledon) says:

    Possibly most of the “socialists” within the Labour Party — like even Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn — not being Socialist Workers Party style socialists, did not leave the Party and instead grudgingly accepted our dilution to social democracy for the main reason that pure socialism sans in-govt would remain a mere theory and would be worse than practical social democratic reforms/reliefs whilst in power ( — and particularly bebeficial/necessary after a prolonged Thatcherite damage to our society! So we accepted Mandelson, and (along with Campbell) he did deliver the goods a few times : which might go to show that he read that phase of our political history/mood rather correctly.

    However, despite given a free hand by Brown, he failed last time. IMHO, it’s because he repeated his old stance and ideological spin of neoliberalism (that worked in 1997) : but during a severely recessionary phase, he was proved out of synch! [And now his machinations are as irrelevant to UK politics as those of any other dodo like Heseltine!]

  6. Crawl back under your rock Mandy. You did a better job advising Bob Diamond than you did the Labour Party – more of a natural bedfellow for you.

  7. John Smith says:

    Are we going to have to put up with regular six month additions to Mandy’s book with accompanying press coverage?

    He was damaging to David’s cause during the leadership election and is now only achieving to undermine Ed’s leadership. If he can’t making helpful suggestions for the future it would be best for him to go into quiet retirement.

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