26 April 2009

Is Mandy happy?

Mandy gave an interview in the The Times yesterday.  I was struck by what he to say about his relationship with Brown.  There is nothing new here, but why now?

So why the thaw? “You’ll have to ask him.” He’s not here. “Well, I never felt any animus towards him,” says Mandelson. “It was a source of great sorrow and more to me that from 1994 onwards we were unable to get on. It wrecked my political career.” How so? “In obvious ways. I don’t need to dwell.” You mean the two incidents that caused you to leave the government were cooked up by Brown’s people? “I’m not saying that,” he says.

In the Observer there is an article quoting anonymous sources:

"I think Peter is pretty isolated in cabinet now," said one colleague, who knows both Mandelson and Harman well. "He doesn't build alliances and I think it's been difficult coming in when you have been out. He has never been one for cabinet government, he has always been one for dealing directly with the man at the top - that worked with Tony, but now it is more of a cabinet system and it doesn't."

The Mandelson question reflects broader unease about the future of the New Labour movement he did much to create, after a week in which it advocated a super-tax on earnings over £150,000 and a legal duty to eradicate discrimination based on social class.


So far, Brown has backed Mandelson when he has really hit the roof, including over the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, when he felt Harman and others were undermining him, but some wonder how long he will stay if he feels his influence waning.

Another old colleague says Mandelson would not want to be a "fig leaf" for an unreconstructed administration: while he still believes he has a valuable role, the rekindled relationship with Brown could quickly sour should he conclude that he has become a token presence.

Where these leaks are coming from is not the point.  Being one of the architects of New Labour, I doubt Mandy is truly happy with the decision on the 50p tax.

Clearly there is no linkage between the two articles.  However, it is interesting that Mandy’s doubts about Brown and the Cabinet are being raised now.

If Mandy is not happy, all could be revealed fairly soon

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