You have to laugh at the cheek of Mandelson. His memoir The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour is out tomorrow and Guido will be providing full excerpts here on the blog from over-the-paywall. Mandy is clearly enjoying himself…
Charlie Whelan says of Mandelson…
“Peter ran the worst general election campaign in Labour’s history. Nobody knew what the message was at all. It was a disaster from beginning to end. Peter wasn’t focused on the campaign at all. Clearly his only thoughts were for his book.”
When Rawnsley’s The End of the Party book came out in January on the heels of Peter Watt’s Inside Out and the allegations of Prime Mentalism committed by Gordon Brown were again denied, Guido predicted that Labour Will Have a Khrushchev Moment of Truth in the End:
When Brown has gone after the election it seems inevitable that we will eventually have a Khrushchev moment, where a senior Labour figure articulates what everyone knows. It will be devastating. Gordon Brown is a malevolent, deeply damaged and unpleasant human being. He is at the centre of a culture of political bullying that has been unhealthy for the Labour Party and the government. The loyalist cabal around him are unpleasant people who have no place in a healthy political culture, they are as secretive and malicious as they are vindictive and vicious.
Gordon Brown was often compared to Stalin, but who will be Labour’s senior Krushchev figure who condemns the previous regime? Mandelson has laid to rest any continuing pretence (if there was any) about the TeeBeeGeeBees, the vicious infighting that paralysed Whitehall for a decade, yet was denied on camera in barefaced lying by Labour politician after Labour politician, including Mandelson. Mandelson is getting all the coverage for his book The Third Man highlighting the failings of Gordon Brown. Less focus is on David Miliband, Mandelson’s new protege gave a speech yesterday that comes near to that Krushchev moment
I agreed completely with Gordon Brown, when he became Prime Minister in 2007, that we needed renewal. I supported and voted for him. I agreed that we needed greater moral seriousness and less indifference to the excesses of a celebrity drenched culture. I agreed with him when he said that we needed greater coherence as a government, particularly in relation to child poverty and equality. I agreed with him on the importance of party reform and a meaningful internationalism that would be part of a unified government strategy. I agreed that we needed a civic morality to champion civility when confronting a widespread indifference to others. But, it didn’t happen. It was not just more of the same. Far from correcting them failings – tactics, spin, high-handedness – intensified; and we lost many of our strengths – optimism born of clear strategy, bold plans for change and reform, a compelling articulation of aspiration and hope. We did not succeed in renewing ourselves in office; and the roots of that failure were deep not recent, about procedure and openness, or lack of it, as much as policy. That is a political fact and now words are cheap but the stakes are high.
It was a backhanded condemnation of Brown’s failure. If David Miliband wants Labour to move on, a frank, uncoded, reflection on the period of Labour brutalism is required. Brown was a disaster for the Labour Party and the country, if Miliband wants a reborn Labour Party he first has to bury Brown in the truth.
UPDATE : Punters give David Miliband a 63% chance of being the next Labour leader.
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Sarah Vine writes of Esther McVey…
“McVey told Grazia that she hasn’t married or had children because she ‘never found anyone to wind her biological clock’ … If I remember rightly, half the current Cabinet would have cheerfully ‘wound her clock’ if she’d given them a glimmer of a chance.”