>What Mandelson’s book really reveals



Having read the second sets of extracts from Lord Mandelson’s book today, I was struck by a couple of things. The first is that there is very little knew in the book. Thanks to Peter Watt we know already that Gordon Brown was a bully. We also know already that it was Mandelson who stopped a complete collapse after James Purnell resigned from the Government, although the context he gives of a policy bust up with Brown was new. 

The clearest thing revealed is just what cowardice lied at the heart of New Labour. Harriet Harman could almost certainly have had the Leadership at one point, yet failed to grasp the mantle. 

It is also clear how weak Brown was. According to today’s extract, Purnell’s resignation made it impossible for Ed Balls to be installed in the treasury, but surely a true leader trying to regain authority would have moved his chief lieutenant next door? 

The biggest coward of all is David Milliband. Firstly he didn’t challenge Gordon Brown for the leadership after Tony Blair stood down. Then, after both Purnell’s resignation and the Hewitt/Hoon email Milliband could have forced a full scale leadership contest,  but he failed to act. Instead he whispered ‘I’ll never let go’ as he watched Purnell sunk into the icey waters beneath the wreckage of the good ship New Labour, and then he let Hewitt and Hoon scramble for the life boats before they too were washed away.

All in all it just goes to show what a mess the Labour party is really in. I don’t think a leadership contest between some Eds and some Millibands will go far in fixing it either.

At least the book did lead to one of the best (read frightening,) TV adverts of recent times:

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