Posts Tagged ‘john smith’

New source documents attached to Mandelson new ebook

24/09/2011, 12:56:17 PM

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.

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Kevin Meagher looks at the new leader’s in-tray

28/09/2010, 09:23:37 AM

THIS week, of all weeks, Ed Miliband will not find himself short of advice. Whatever his critics, myself among them, have said about his campaign, he has executed his strategy expertly. Quite simply, he intuitively understood the centre of gravity in the modern Labour party far better than any of the other candidates.

His appeal to the Guardian-reading, soft left, public-sector urbanites who comprise so much of the party’s grassroots, was perfectly pitched. These are principled, decent people who can be swayed by pragmatic arguments, as they were (initially) by Tony Blair; but ultimately they retain their original, earnestly held views. They saw many of their cherished beliefs battered and bruised during Labour’s years in office and were grateful to have a candidate to vote for in this contest who actually chimed with how they see the world.

The trouble is that their views are not necessarily the views of the broader electorate. Or, indeed, our lost Labour voters. Both Gordon Brown’s former pollster, David Muir and the Open Left team at Demos have made this point in recent days.

So the balance between idealism and hard-nosed electoral reality needs to be better calibrated. And our new leader will not have long to do so. He has to adapt to a fast-changing political landscape with firmness and quickness or risk being on the back foot from the off. To his right-wing media critics he is already “Red Ed” – a rollback to Labour’s Jurassic period.  I am sure we can expect some subtle but firm rebranding in this afternoon’s speech.

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Sunday News Review

18/07/2010, 07:56:14 AM

Have you seen this man?

Where’s Gordon?

Some ex-prime ministers take years to get over being ejected; some never come to terms with the withdrawal of power. I don’t blame him for holing up in Kirkaldy and trying to bury his anguish by sitting at his keyboard thumping out a tome on the financial crisis. But I do criticise his colleagues for continuing to flinch from confronting the truth about him. – Rawnsley on Brown, The Guardian.

Since Labour left office their ­successors have finally been able to go through the books. And they make for uncomfortable reading. Of course it is difficult to fathom the labyrinthine bureaucracy that under-pins the NHS. But it would be hard to imagine any private business accepting without question a supplier increasing the price of a product by almost 1,000 per cent over two years. –Daily Mail.

Leadership news

The widow of John Smith, the former Labour leader who died of a heart attack in 1994, has thrown her backing behind Ed Miliband in the party’s leadership battle. Baroness Elizabeth Smith said she was sure that her husband would have done the same thing if he had been alive. “I am backing Ed Miliband because I identify with Ed’s values and principles, and I know that John would have done so too. Ed is also the candidate who I know has the ability to unify the party going forward,” she said. – The Guardian.

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