On Monday the world will be told (by publishers, Harper Collins) about the ebook version of Peter Mandelson’s The Third Man, which includes copies of original letters and minutes, audio commentary and video footage. Political memoirs and signings are the standard fare of conference season. But the new and improved The Third Man ebook is not standard. It is deluxe. Or, at least, many of the source materials have genuine curiosity value.
The Dark Lord’s actual handwriting, as those historic events swirled around us, is almost enough, at times, to send a shiver.
In one handwritten note, to Tony Blair on 3 May 1997, simply entitled “my job” he writes “I just beg you to set me up in a job in which I am neither an ornament not a cork bobbing, misinformed and ineffective, in the government machine”. [Memo to TB on position in new government]
Later in the same memo, he asks that in the job he is given he should “support Alistair, and front for him, but (that) I am not portrayed in any way as a “spin doctor”.
And in another note, written between Christmas and New Year of 1995, reflecting on the death of John Smith he writes:
“It was assumed that one of the modernisers, Brown or Blair, would become leader and it was clear from Gordon’s tone which one he thought it would be”.
He, Blair and Brown, he says “were like the three musketeers”. [John Smith’s death and leadership contest]
And we see the famous lines: “We were elected as New Labour and will govern as New Labour. TB to see. Line to take”, dated 2 May 1997. [Final campaign note to Tony Blair]
Uncut understands that Peter Mandelson will be available to sign your kindle or iPad in the lobby of the Jury’s Inn on Tuesday afternoon. He’s behind you.