EXCLUSIVE: Mandelson on Ed Miliband

February 25, 2011 11:00 am

Third man paperbackOn Monday the paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s “The Third Man” hits the shops, including a “revealing new chapter”. The fresh material covers Ed Miliband’s victory, the impact of the new government, the AV campaign and more.

Below you can read exclusive extracts – published for the first time on LabourList – on Mandelson’s worries after Ed Miliband’s “wafer thin” victory, his attack on the leadership election rules that gave “the deciding voice to union organisers” and how the new leader’s politics compare with New Labour, and Old Labour…

On why Ed Miliband won…

Ed’s simpler phrases – ‘I will never leave this party and its values behind’ – and his sense of youth, excitement and ‘new page’ promise, ignited his challenge. (p.xxiii)

On Ed Miliband winning…

It was a photo finish [and] I felt terrible for David. I felt even more worried for the party. This was not because I doubted Ed’s ability to become a strong or effective leader: he is a highly intelligent and thoughtful individual. It was because of the campaign message on which he had built his victory. It was left to Neil Kinnock, who had always found it hard to celebrate New Labour’s successes, to drive home this message. With their new leader’s triumph, he crowed, Labour’s old faithful had finally ‘got their party back’. If by that he meant our 1980s party, God only knew how, or when, we could hope to become a party of government again. Ed’s victory may have been wafer-thin, but he had played by the rules – even if the rules had ended up giving the deciding voice to union organisers, many of whose rank and file were not Labour Party members. And he had won. For lifetime Labour loyalists like me, that was all that mattered. Ed was our leader. He was my leader. I would do all I could to help make his leadership a success. (p.xxiv)

On Ed Miliband’s political outlook…

When Ed pronounced New Labour ‘dead’, he was not only being more categorical than was wise, but quite possibly more than he really intended. (xxi) …Even allowing for the tactical choices he had made in his bid to become leader, however, I was struck by the fact that he had given no strong clue during the campaign as to what alternative to New Labour he envisaged. He was quick to say what he was against: essentially, Tory policies and Tony’s policies. But he rarely said what he was for, apart from a belief in greater social mobility and equal chances in life for the young, more strategic government intervention in the economy, and primacy for individual rights in counter-terrorist law. I would sum up his position as being an egalitarian social liberal – different from Tony, yet not a reversion to Old Labour. (p.xxv)…

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Comment Labour’s immigration policies are excellent – we need to champion them on the doorstep

    Labour’s immigration policies are excellent – we need to champion them on the doorstep

    The pistol has been fired and the race has begun. For many Labour activists door knocking and phone banking has become a regular part of evenings and weekends as the fight to return a Labour government on 7 May intensifies. Over the past few weeks two topics of doorstep conversation have leapt out at me. One is the passion felt by people of all ages, particularly the older generation, for the NHS. The second, predictably, is public concern over immigration. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Make National Community Service compulsory

    Make National Community Service compulsory

    Last month David Cameron called for all 18- to 21-year-olds who have failed to find a job or a place in training to be forced to undertake community work. Under Tory plans those aged between 18 and 21 who have not had a job for six months will be barred from claiming benefit unless they agree to start an apprenticeship or complete community work. The plan is designed to ensure that the 50,000 young people “most at risk of starting […]

    Read more →
  • News London Mayoral candidate attempts to crowdfund cost of campaign

    London Mayoral candidate attempts to crowdfund cost of campaign

    Labour candidates for Mayor will be trying to fund their campaigns in all manner of ways – but Christian Wolmar (the transport expert who joined the race first and remains the only candidate who isn’t an elected politician) has gone down the crowdfunding route. Wolmar is trying to raise £3,000 for his campaign by next week – and has currently raised nearly half of that sum. Although as with all crowdfunding, he must raise the whole sum or he gets […]

    Read more →
  • News “State sanctioned abuse” has taken place Yarl’s Wood, says Cooper

    “State sanctioned abuse” has taken place Yarl’s Wood, says Cooper

    Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, has asked an urgent question in the Commons about abuse allegations at Yarl’s Wood. Yarl’s Wood is an immigration detention centre that opened in 2001. Ever since then guards (who come from private company Serco, which runs the facilitiy) are have faced serious accusations that there has been ongoing mistreatment of the people detained in the facility. This includes reports of sexual abuse and degrading treatment. On Monday, Channel 4 aired a documentary which had […]

    Read more →
  • News 75% of Labour PPCs want Trident gone, poll finds

    75% of Labour PPCs want Trident gone, poll finds

    75% of Labour PPCs want to see Trident scrapped, according to information collected by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). CND have surveyed 79 Labour prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) – which includes both current MPs and new candidates. Of those asked, 75%  said they wouldn’t vote to renew Trident. This is roughly a quarter more than those who said the same in a ComRes poll for the BBC Sunday Politics in September last year (which surveyed 73 people). Meanwhile, in the CND […]

    Read more →