Fraser Nelson

The Mandelson spin manual

The Mandelson spin manual
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No one does it better than The Prince. So I have written up Lord Mandelson's comments on Simon Mayo's R5 programme (which I mentioned earlier) as they set a template for all ministers who will try to get through the next five days. They represent a truly audacious attempt to make the following four points...


a) All this is nothing to do with Brown's leadership crisis - it's just the expenses crisis, which understandably focuses on the government.

b) Poor wee Hazel, poor wee Jacqui, they couldn't cope with the pressure.

c) And did I remember to hint that their expenses were a bit suspect?

d) Talk about Brown's leadership is gossip - just the wicked, shallow media focusing on personalities.

So, now, over to The Prince...

1. Everybody hurts.

“All the political parties are going through a very intense political crisis. It’s causing acute difficulties for the government in particular because, at the end of the day, we’re in charge. People see that, fairly or unfairly, it has hit us hard. “

2. Especially Smith and Blears

“I think for ministers it is particularly difficult, they are exposed to intense media scrutiny and sometimes relentless pressure. We’ve seen that in the case of both Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears. And there is only so much any normal human being can take”

3. Blears, poor love, couldn’t take the media torment about her dodgy expenses one more day.

“I asked her about that this morning. She talked to me, she rang me, and said: I’m sorry, but this is just becoming inevitable. There are people on my doorstep this morning, I have had people pursue me up hill and down dale, I’m being asked to give an answer to all their questions and I just wanted to have done with it, give an answer and go back to Salford. She felt could not hold back any longer. When she woke up this morning, and found all the media yet again on her doorstep, she decided to have done with it and tell them what she intended to do.”

4. Blears angry with Brown, rather than her own failings? How could you suggest such a thing?

“The media love conspiracy. This action, by this person, provoking this counter-reaction and so it goes on. You know sometimes are simpler in politics than you might imagine and when people get to the end of the line, as I believe Hazel did, and decides that she can no longer take this media pressure she had decided that she wanted to step down from the Cabinet yes she could have waited for a few more days, but I understand the explanation she has given to me and others. So please don’t dabble in all this briefing and counter-briefing. There’s nothing the media likes more to talk abour process. And, after process, personalities.”

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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