Fraser Nelson

Mayor Mandelson?

Mayor Mandelson?
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When Mandelson said in his Spectator interview that he plans another 15 to 20 years in politics, what could he have meant? Now that his European career is over, there is only one decent post coming up for a Labour figure in the first half of the next decade – and I float the latest theory in my News of the World column today: that Mandy might stand as Mayor of London in 2012.

A bizarre notion, I grant you, but no less bizarre than his CV to date – and Ken Livingstone is certainly taking the prospect seriously. Whoever the Labour candidate, they have a pretty good chance given that, by 2012, Cameron should be knee-deep in cuts and being very unpopular if he’s doing his job properly. Saying ‘vote Tory’ in London in 2012 will be no sure way to be elected.

Now, I gather that Boris is highly unlikely to stand for a second term: he has his eyes on the No.10 prize and would need to get back into Parliament somehow. The Tories had enough trouble finding a Mayoral candidate in 2008 when they had a great chance to win: who would they find in 2012, if not Boris? That would make the Labour Mayor nomination even more sought after.

Mandelson will doubtless have a dozen different plans for 2012 (and beyond), but being saluted by Olympic athletes in the London games would be just his cup of tea. And he has already been identified by Red Ken as the No.1 threat for the nomination. All Ken is doing nowadays is planning a 2012 comeback.

All this sounds weird, but while the Tories are obsessing about the next election, Labour is planning for the fight to come after their defeat (starting with the leadership). It will all get weirder and weirder.

P.S. Farmers Weekly followed up Mandy’s comments that he’d like to be a farmer, asking if he’d like to visit. They were told to get back in touch “in a few months’ time” - presumably when he’ll have a lot more time on his hands.