Posts Tagged ‘Mandelson’

Sunday News Review

19/09/2010, 07:56:34 AM

The smart money

There’s been a big plunge of money for Ed Miliband to become the new Labour leader, with polls indicating he has a strong chance of victory. William Hill have reported big chunks of money for Ed Miliband in their Labour leadership race betting, with the candidate now 11/8 from 3/1 to beat the rest of the pack – the shortest odds that he has been since the contest began. –

It was your fault

Lord Mandelson told a BBC Radio 4 documentary that the manifesto failed to address those who were not “natural, or automatic” Labour voters. Ed Miliband, a candidate for the Labour leadership, wrote the manifesto but Lord Mandelson accused him of now distancing himself from the document. –

Peter Mandelson has launched a blistering attack on Left-wing Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband, blaming him for the party’s General Election defeat. He mocked Mr Miliband for producing a ‘crowd-pleasing Guardianista’ manifesto that ‘offered nothing to people worried about immigration, housing and welfare scroungers’. ‘Nobody else authored the manifesto,’ said Lord Mandelson, who is ­backing Ed’s Blairite brother David Miliband for the Labour leadership. – Daily Mail

All eyes on Clegg

Nick Clegg has launched the ‘yes’ campaign for the AV referendum amid ever more angry attacks from Ed Miliband. The Labour leadership candidate, who has built his campaign on his ability to attract votes from the Liberal Democrats, said he would “make sure he is punished at the ballot box” for joining government with the Conservatives.

Ed Miliband went further than most with a remarkable outburst against the deputy prime minister. “Nick Clegg has taken the Lib Dems in a direction that they may never recover from, Nick Clegg has sold out to the Tories, and I will lead a Labour party that makes sure he is punished at the ballot box for it.” –


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The Brown inner circle: from spearhead to shambles, by Dan Hodges

12/08/2010, 12:00:25 PM

On Sunday I had my first opportunity to watch ‘Five Days That Changed Britain’, Nick Robinson’s exposé of the deals, double deals and expressions of sincerity from Nick Clegg that culminated in the establishment of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. Although the programme wasn’t revelatory, I found it candid, insightful and, to my surprise, moving. There was something genuinely poignant in the picture it drew of Gordon Brown’s growing isolation as the political options narrowed and his enemies closed in.

It reminded me of a little vignette from the morning after the election, when Gordon arrived at Labour HQ to address party workers. After a few brief words of thanks, he prepared to depart for Downing  Street, only to be unceremoniously bundled into a side room by Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, who proceeded to lay out their strategy for a grand alliance to keep the party, (though not necessarily him), in power.

Peter, Alastair and Andrew Adonis featured at length in the transition drama, and were clearly – to the extent that we had a negotiating strategy – its architects. Which goes beyond poignancy, stampedes right past pathos and dives headlong into Shakespearian tragedy. At his darkest hour, with all hope fading, the King calls out for his trusted aides, only to find himself surrounded by the henchman of his bitterest foe. “That one might read the book of fate/And see the revolution of the times”. Or, in Gordon’s case, the Sun and the Mail.


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Saturday News Review

17/07/2010, 09:51:43 AM
The great survivor 

Leadership candidates call on Mandelson to exit stage left

In interviews with The Times, the candidates – David Miliband, his brother Ed and Andy Burnham – suggested it is time for the peer to leave the political stage. David Miliband, former foreign secretary, said Lord Mandelson’s book The Third Man is “destructive and self-destructive” and should have come “after retirement, not before…”. Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary, said the peer is “his own worst spin doctor” and had “offended just about everyone”. He said: “I think this is sad and damaging to Peter, not just to the Labour Party”, adding: “It’s time for a new generation.” Mr Burnham, who was health secretary in the last Labour government, said: “Peter loves the spotlight but it’s time to leave the stage.” – Press Association.

Mr Campbell, victim of a coded kicking in the book, had counterstruck this very day, in this very newspaper, by calling Mandelson a liar, or manager, over an arcane point regarding the Lib-Lab coalition talks he attended. But then he’s one of so many, Mr Blair in the vanguard, to have put the boot in. Having so little experience of internecine strife, this must all be terribly painful for you. “It’s not the end of my world,” says the Gloria Gaynor of British politics laconically, as his taxi draws to its halt. “I will survive.” – The Telegraph.

Balls acknowledged that both men in their different ways are in fact tribal Labour and powerfully described a “commonality” between the two. “Putting that big issue aside, Peter was Labour and I was Labour, we wanted the government to succeed, we wanted to win the election, Peter and I were always the people who, at key moments, were willing to go out and defend the government. I was never part of any plotting and I don’t think anyone suggests Peter particularly was. We were both, as we saw it, trying to do the right thing and doing the right thing meant coming together. We were more effective than we would have been opposing each other; just not effective enough sadly.” – The New Statesman.


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Thursday News Review

15/07/2010, 07:40:50 AM

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


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Tuesday News Review

13/07/2010, 07:50:57 AM

The gift that keeps on giving


The leaders of Labour‘s general election campaign believed their party was “fucked” six months before Gordon Brown fired the starting gun in April, Lord Mandelson has revealed. In the latest instalment of his memoirs, the former business secretary says that three senior members of the cabinet joked last October that Labour should fight a campaign based on three Fs: Futile, Finished, and Fucked. – The Guardian

The peer criticised the “unbridled contempt” of some of Mr Brown’s allies – taken as a reference to Mr Whelan and Ed Balls – for Mr Blair. Mr Balls, now a candidate for the party leadership, said yesterday it was incorrect to say he had briefed against fellow Labour MPs over the past decade. In a BBC interview he said: “Are there times when I was in my late 20s, 15 years ago, where… we were sort of youthful and exuberant and a bit arrogant? Almost certainly the case, but we all grew up.” – The Western Mail


Clearly annoyed by Lord Mandelson’s actions, leadership candidate Ed Miliband, who served in cabinet with him, said: “One of the lessons for Labour is we do need to move on from some of the psychodramas of the past, some of the factionalism that there was.” The most important lesson to be learnt from the memoirs, said Mr Miliband, was that the party would be “profoundly wrong” to believe that it lost the election because of its most senior personalities, rather than its policies. “We began as the party of the windfall tax on privatised utilities and the minimum wage in 1997. We ended up – despite doing great things – as the party defending bankers’ bonuses and pushing forward ID cards,” said Mr Miliband. – The Irish Times


A senior Labour politician has launched a scathing attack on Lord Mandelson, saying the former Cabinet minister should compensate the party for the damage his memoirs are likely to cause. Ian Davidson, the new chairman of the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, said Mandelson should donate the proceeds from his explosive tell-all memoirs to the party. The MP also said that the television advertisements for the book, in which the former Business Secretary wears a smoking jacket and a cravat, proved he had always been egotistical and self-serving. – The Herald


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Sunday News Review

11/07/2010, 08:39:01 AM

Miliband: amassing an army of supporters

The Leadership

“The Labour Party can only win power again if we win the battle locally. We need an army of activists, trained and ready to take on the coalition. The Con-Dem cuts don’t just threaten the recovery, they threaten the livelihood of every community”. – David Miliband,  The Mirror.

“It would be all too easy for Labour leadership candidates to please their natural supporters by accusing the Lib Dems of being collaborators – a word John Prescott used to describe his former colleague John Hutton, advising the Government on pensions – as if we were now living under Nazi occupation. But that risks driving the Lib Dems further into the arms of the Tories.” – The Independent.

“[David] Miliband’s ideas can only become reality if he is elected leader and if Labour wins the next Election. Clegg, in his statement on political and constitutional reform last week, was addressing the Commons as Deputy Prime Minister. One only has to recall the difference between the aura of power of Tony Blair in 1997, and the lack of authority of successive Tory leaders of the Opposition to see how authority has passed from Labour to the Coalition.” – The Daily Mail.

“David Miliband has surpassed himself with the sorriest excuse for a “nothing to do with me, guv” speech we have heard since Gordon Brown’s departure. The shadow foreign secretary, who always strained every sinew to make it look like he supported Brown when he was in office, is now trying to oil out of his support for the doomed Labour government to help his leadership bid.”  – The Telegraph.


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Saturday News Review

10/07/2010, 08:32:06 AM

And so it begins

The Peter Mandelson memoirs are released this week

At times, Lord Mandelson said, Mr Brown feared that he had “killed” all three men, but, wound up by his lieutenants, was unable to stop the feud, meaning that Mr Blair was forced to devote too much energy dealing with him. The former business secretary said some of the blame for the hostilities lay with the people around Mr Brown who, he said, treated Mr Blair with “unbridled contempt”. – The Telegraph

In an interview published by Saturday’s Times newspaper, the peer said that relations between Mr Blair and Mr Brown were “awful” and “exceptionally bad” between 1994 and 2007, not least because the latter “couldn’t get over” the fact that he was not prime minister. Lord Mandelson also said he wished the pair had “behaved to me and treated me differently” – a reference to his two resignations during the Blair government. – The FT


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Don’t cut growth: Andy Westwood says that Labour got it right

08/06/2010, 04:43:31 PM

‘We’ve got to get the economy moving’ urged David Cameron ad nauseam during the election campaign. But beyond his condemnation of the ‘jobs tax’ and his desire to shrink the size and the role of the state, the detail was nowhere to be seen. He claimed then that what government spent or did was not the same thing as the economy – visibly incredulous as Gordon Brown warned about endangering the recovery by cutting expenditure too quickly.

A few weeks into the coalition government and the headlines are still about cuts, because in Cameron’s words ‘growth won’t be enough’. That may be because he has yet to give it any serious thought, or it may be because they just prefer to talk about the deficit. But there’s a third possibility: it may be because the Tories and Lib Dems don’t want to admit that they have retained Labour’s new industrial policy.

Key to this was the formation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and ‘NINJA’ – the ‘New Industries, New Jobs’ white paper jointly written and conceived by Lord Mandelson and John Denham. Which document was published in Budget week exactly two years ago, providing a narrative for a more optimistic economic future amidst the fast developing recession in 2008.


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Thursday News Review

03/06/2010, 08:06:11 AM
The Leadership Race

Miliband contacts Walcott

“If one of the candidates … shows, bona fide, that they’ve got 32 and they need a 33rd nominee I’ve still got my nomination to make and that’s the nomination I can control. When I say I want the more the merrier, that’s what I mean.” – David Miliband, The Guardian

“Labour Party members are crying out for fresh thinking, but the four main candidates look well placed to provide Labour with more of the same. They are all creatures of New Labour. To quote Diane Abbott, they are ‘all male, all white, all former policy wonks’. The initial PR challenge identified by all four candidates is thus to break free from the shackles of New Labour.” – PR Week

“My message to Theo is, ‘don’t give up. Stay fit. Stay fit over the summer and make sure you are ready for the new season’. He is still young – only 21, – and I look forward to his participation in the next World Cup.” – David Miliband, The Mirror (more…)

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Hopi Sen asks the leadership bright boys some hard questions

20/05/2010, 09:52:52 AM

In the leadership election campaign, there will be a lot of talk of telling ourselves “uncomfortable truths”. Quite often, these “uncomfortable truths” will be a rhetorical trick to tell the audience what it wants to hear. Like that it’s all someone else’s fault, or that the party lost its way and got out of touch.

So I thought we should perhaps make a habit of proposing some uncomfortable truths that the Labour party, and even the candidates themselves, really don’t want to hear.

Here are two to start us off.

Don’t throw the machine away. Mend it.

The current crop of leadership contenders are the products of the most ferociously successful political machine in Labour party history. It was a machine that won three general elections, reduced the old left of the Labour party to irrelevance and made the country we live in a fairer, more open and safer place to live.

These are not bad things. (more…)

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