Peter Hoskin

Tony Blair, everywhere

Tony Blair, everywhere
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To be honest, these Mandelson memoirs are already losing their lustre. I was planning to do a summary of this morning's revelations, as yesterday – but swiftly lost the will. It's not that this first draft of New Labour's history is unappreciated, of course. But so much of it is just plain unsurprising: ministers thought Labour was cruising for an electoral kicking; Alistair Darling proposed a VAT hike; David Miliband was considering running for the leadership in 2008; and so on and so on. Sadly, it's not quite enough to enliven this grey morning in Westminster.

One general observation does emerge from the latest extracts, though: the omnipresence of Tony Blair. Sure, it's hardly shocking that the former PM should take a deep interest in Labour politics, but the texts between "Tony" and Mandelson still zap around with striking regularity. On David Miliband: "He's not perfect, but he has matured." On Brown: "He can't stagger on. The public aren't going to elect him for another five years." And even when it came to the Hoon and Hewitt plot, Blair and Mandelson were trading advice with each other: "We both agreed that if anything happened I should not be involved in encouraging it, but nor could I go into overdrive as I did when James [Purnell] resigned."

All of which simply fuels the sentiment that the old wars are still being fought – which, lest it need saying, is not a positive development for the current leadership contenders, or for the party as a whole.