James Forsyth

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Peter Mandelson’s outburst about the chairman of Starbucks is set to go down in political folklore as the bookend to the mushy peas guacamole tale. (Before I’m corrected, I know it wasn’t actually Mandelson who said it, but that is the legend and, as they say, print the legend). The spiritual leader of New Labour attacking the head of the company that brought lattes and cappuccinos to middle Britain feels like the end of an era.

But to be serious, it is interesting that Mandelson got so riled by what the foam man said. I suspect that Jane Merrick is right in her analysis:

“the strength of his words in the outburst - he is not exactly renowned for using the f-word - could be because Schultz's remarks are on the money. Consumer confidence is collapsing. These are desperate times, not just for the identikit coffeeshop market. Schultz hit a nerve and Mandelson's outburst shows the strain Gordon Brown and his Cabinet are under.”

Then again, his rage could be due to the fact that Starbucks have yet to open a branch in his old Hartlepool stomping ground. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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