David Blackburn

Right-on Mandelson

Right-on Mandelson
Text settings

We’ve reached the Mandelson overload zone, but he makes one vital observation in an interview with Matthew Norman:

‘We drove them (the Tories) further and further to the Right, and Cameron is driving us ever more to the Left. You only win general elections from the centre and we’re sleepwalking into a trap. We need to wake up. There’s still a little time for a leader to emerge from the pack.’

The Labour leadership election was always going to be determined by the left wing of the party and the unions. The assumption was that David Miliband would campaign from the right, but even he favours a permanent 50 percent tax rate. The winner, whoever it might be, may end up being a centrist when they actually lead the opposition and turn their attention to floating voters and affluent marginals.


However, as Mandelson notes, time is short. The Liberal-Conservative coalition is colonising the centre ground, redefining party politics. The Labour party can’t afford to gaze at the left side of its navel in perpetuity.