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The prince of darkness

Over two evenings, I’ve just watched a BBC4 film on ‘the real’ Peter Mandelson. Now I find myself wondering whether we’ve seen the last of him in Labour politics. After all, he was born to them; Herbert Morrison, his grandfather was Attlee’s deputy PM for the six years of his government, so his party is in his genes. It seems that Ed Milipede doesn’t seem to like him, and he may suffer for it. I don’t see anyone in his team who has the faintest idea of policy development, presentation and campaigning. Sooner or later, as Brown did, young Ed is going to realise that he needs him on board.

That’s if he’s still inclined to join. It’s early in the game, I know, but I have a sense of Labour people starting to think, ‘Oh shit, what have we done?’ Eighteen months down the road, might we have another IDS situation, another leader who wasn’t around long enough to fight an election? If that happens, if they realise that they need a leader with real gravitas, like him or loath him, (I used to be firmly in the latter camp, even though we have the same literary agent, but I’m not sure where I stand any more) there is nobody in Mandy’s league. Of course, he’s a Lord now, and unable to stand for the Commons, but Jack Straw, as Justice Sec and Lord Chancellor, sat on the woolsack as an MP, so is it inconceivable that in this era a peer could be PM and turn up in the House once a week for questions?

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