Peter Mandelson is like Banquo’s ghost: he’s always hanging around making trouble and stirring things up. Today, he fired a warning shot over Ed Miliband’s bows by telling the Murdoch media that Labour risked heading down an “electoral cul-de-sac” if the party turned its back on its recent Nu Labour past. He also gave his blessing (or Mafioso kiss of death) to David Miliband.
He said Ed, the younger of the Miliband brothers, would take Labour back to the past by appealing to only the party’s “core” supporters.
“If you shut the door on New Labour you’re effectively slamming the door in the faces of millions of voters who voted for our party because we were New Labour,” he told the Times.
To be honest, Mandelson is deluded: the party turned its back on its core support the moment it abandoned Clause 4 and began to woo so-called Middle England. When it did this, those people who voted Labour felt alienated and betrayed; the party was continuing the policies of the Thatcher government by refusing to build new council homes and refusing to repeal the anti-union legislation that was enacted in the 1980’s.
Of all those associated with the Nu Labour neo-liberal project, Mandelson was seen as one of its chief architects. Alongside Tony Blair, it was Mandelson’s job to schmooze the wizards and alchemists of the Cittie of London, the captains of industry and the Murdoch press (he still has quite a fondness for Murdoch). Indeed, the Nu Labour project has Mandelson’s fingerprints all over it.
What is richly ironic is this from Sky News,
Lord Mandelson, one of the architects of New Labour, criticised former leader Neil Kinnock and former deputy leader Roy Hattersley for attempting to “hark back to a previous age” by supporting the more left-wing of the brothers.
It was Kinnock who welcomed Mandelson into the party as a spin doctor in the 1980’s. This marked the very beginning of Nu Labour. It is ironic that Mandelson should attack Kinnock and then have a swipe at Hattersley, who was never seen as a left winger by anyone. Though, in fairness, Hattersley for all his sensibilities, was pretty much to the left of Blair. Of course that isn’t a terribly difficult thing to do; even the very dead Ramsay MacDonald was to the left of Blair!
Asked if he would want Lord Mandelson in a future shadow cabinet, Ed said he believed in the “dignity of retirement”.
Yep, I agree, it’s time for Mandelson to climb back into his coffin and leave us all alone.