Brown – damned with faint Mandelsing

Peter Mandelson

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Far be it from me to suggest Machiavellian tactics in politics, but I could hardly believe my ears this morning on Radios 4’s “Today”. Peter Mandelson, EU Commissioner and great friend and confidante of the Prime Minister was full of praise for Gordon Brown! Yes, he was … fulsome even.

He said a “deep breach” had opened up between him and Mr Brown when he had backed Mr Blair to become the new leader.

“Within the party, or more strictly within the New Labour family, there has been a fissure really from the word go,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“And the reason for that is that Gordon thought that he could and should have been leader in 1994.

“He believed that he should have succeeded John Smith and he’s never fully reconciled himself to not doing so.”

Mr Mandelson said Mr Brown, despite his feelings at losing the leadership, had recognised “that actually Tony has done very well”.

Mutual respect

“For all the regrets that he might have had that he was not leader and prime ministerblair_with_brown_behind himself during this period, I think he does recognise Tony Blair’s qualities and I think that is entirely reciprocated from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown,” he said.

Mr Blair would see his greatest legacy as seeing a successor taking the party to a fourth election victory on a New Labour platform, argued Mr Mandelson.

I know this is Peter Mandelson, not all that widely respected in some Labour circles, but after the ten minutes or so praising Brown as very capable and fit to be PM etc etc, the phrase which was likely to stick in most minds was something about Gordon “never having been reconciled to failing to become the party leader in 1994”.

There must be an expression for “reading between the lines”. How’s about “mandelsing”?

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