Peter Hoskin

The Mandelson question

The Mandelson question
Text settings

As Peter Mandelson has us knee-deep in Kremlinology already, it's worth pointing out this insight from Mary Ann Sieghart in the Independent:

'It was quite clear in 2008 and 2009 that Brown was going to lead Labour to defeat, whereas a messy leadership contest was by no means certain ….  Mandelson by then knew that Labour would lose under Brown. 'Surely you know we can't win with Gordon as leader?' a colleague asked him last year. To which the reply was, 'Do you think I'm mad? Do you think I don't realise that?' But Mandelson was convinced that Labour couldn't win a majority under any leader. His big strategic mistake was to overlook the possibility of winning enough parliamentary seats to be able to govern in coalition with the Lib Dems.'

My guess is that Mandelson isn't going to come out of this too well, except perhaps in a financial sense.  Underlying all the disquiet about his motives and timing, there's a quietly insistent question: if you thought Brown was that bad, why did you prop him up in power?  And none of the answers are flattering.