Mandelson’s mischief making….
Predictably, the publication of Lord Mandelson’s memoirs has caused a storm. The extent of the personal bitterness surrounding the Blair/Brown camps is scarcely a surprise as are Mandelson’s efforts to exonerate himself. Once again we are reminded that although ideological can be bitter and leave the Party with major scars; personal battles that rumble on beneath the surface and behind closed doors leave a more lingering taste. So it is that Charlie Whelen decided to join the fray:
“Peter ran the worst general campaign in Labour’s history. Nobody knew what the message was at all. It was a disaster from beginning to end.”
Mr Whelan, the political director of the Unite union, which is a major Labour donor, added: “Peter wasn’t focused on the campaign at all. Clearly his only thoughts were for his book.”
As regular readers of this blog may well be aware I have some sympathy with the basic premise; that the message during the election campaign was very far from clear. Over the issue of how to address the Liberal Democrat poll surge, for example, the lack of consistency was almost embarrassing and certainly damaging. Whether this was due to Mandelson’s pre-occupation with his literary dream is, of course, open to debate. For me its more to do with a fundamental lack of ideological and value-driven coherency. However, Whelen’s intervention is far from helpful in that it perpetuates the cycle set in motion by Mandelson and no doubt gives him some more publicity that he will secretly welcome.
As well as the over-long continuation of the leadership contest this is potentially another factor that will drain Labour over the summer with the ‘silly season’ almost upon us. Luckily, in the long-run its unlikely to do lasting damage however, that will be despite, not because the recklessness of the self-publicists who are now deprived the warm glow of the ‘New Labour’ brand and consequent power and position within the Party.