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 As the PPC in Iain Duncan Smith’s constituency, Ed has taught me two important lessons

    As the PPC in Iain Duncan Smith’s constituency, Ed has taught me two important lessons

    Ed Miliband has tackled the issue of his perceived image problem. Rather than embarrassingly excuse himself or convince the public he is something he is not, he has embraced his own persona, accepting it in order to extinguish the ongoing media analysis of who he is rather than what he stands for. This move shows courage, political prowess and most of all, it’s set the stage for next year’s election to be about policy rather than personalities. I cannot tell […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Cameron condemned for immigration PR stunt

    Cameron condemned for immigration PR stunt

    Yesterday, David Cameron offered an ominous threat to people who are deemed to be ‘illegal immigrants’, when he said “we will find you and make sure you are sent back to the country you came from.”  Who knew he meant this literally?  This announcement was worrying enough in itself – such a threat demonises immigrants and ignores the many reasons people might be in the UK illegally – but the PM decided to take his intimidating statement one step further. Cameron, […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Cameron dropped Gove, now Labour must drop his policies

    Cameron dropped Gove, now Labour must drop his policies

    Fireworks, champagne corks popping and rare mashups of Hallelujah and Ode to Joy were heard echoing down the corridors from staffrooms across England and Wales in response to the news that Michael Gove had at long last been sacked as Secretary of State for Education. Forget the unpopularity of his policies, his mishandling of the scandal over suspected attempts to indoctrinate Birmingham’s children to Islamic extremism or his inability to work with anyone from teachers to the Home Secretary – […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour outraised the Tories in 2013, but financial worries still remain

    Labour outraised the Tories in 2013, but financial worries still remain

    The Electoral Commission’s annual report of party finances has been published for 2013, and it turns out that Labour actually raised more money than the Conservatives last year – by almost £8 million. Labour raised £33.4m, while the Tories raised just £25.4m. As George Eaton points out, over at the New Statesman, much of Labour’s advantage comes from short money (the money opposition parties receive from the state). However, this only amounts to £6.9m, meaning Labour still raised roughly an […]

    Read more →
  • Comment We need a Mayor who offers London serious alternatives

    We need a Mayor who offers London serious alternatives

     Speaking at the launch of Labour’s summer campaign last week Ed Miliband said “We need a new leadership: Leadership that thinks deeply and offers creative, new ideas. Leadership that seeks to be faithful to principle, even when it’s hard to do. Leadership that listens and cares.” His eyes, of course, are set on the general election but he could have been talking about the London mayoral campaign. This time next year a very short primary season will be in full […]

    Read more →