David Blackburn

Kraft’s betrayal is Mandelson’s failure

Kraft’s betrayal is Mandelson’s failure
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I don’t usually agree with the sage of Twickenham but he is right that Mandelson’s promise on Cadbury “melted away”. Kraft is a notoriously feckless corporation, loathed the world over. Reneging on promises is its modus operandi and the remaining 4,000 Cadbury workers are understandably concerned that the closure of Somerdale is just the trailer.

Of course, government should not manage private enterprise in circumstances other than the extraordinary, but neither should it be submissive when jobs are at stake. Mandelson’s reputation as a demagogic strategist is deserved, when it comes to smooth tongued fixers he is unsurpassed. But that is his tragedy: his achievements are contained within partisan precincts. His influence is Wolseyian but Mandelson has delivered little politically. His inability to check Kraft is the latest in a list of failures – the Post Office fiasco, Vauxhall, car manufacturing in the North East, Northern Ireland, all bear his mark.