Martin Bright

Peter Mandelson’s Funny Bone

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I'm still recovering from Lord Mandelson's deeply peculiar behaviour during his interview with Nick Robinson on the Ten O'Clock News. He was talking perfectly calmly (too calmly) about the row over his plans to sell of 30 per cent of the Post Office.

Nick Robinson made the perfectly valid and uncontroverisal point that it may seem odd to people that the government is planning to part-privatise a public service while nationalising the banks. For Mandelson this was a real side-splitter. I thought he was going to fall off his chair.

Sorry to get all sanctimonious about this. But did anyone else find this funny. Mandelson was arguing that the "taxpayer" could not be expected to foot the bill for the Post Office's £8 million liabilities. But it can be expected to pay the £1.5 trillion cost of the bank bailout it seems.

I thought the Business Secretary's guffawing was seriously odd. Maybe it was the death-rattle of New Labour?