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 On policy, Labour needs to do to the NHS what it has done on rail and energy

    On policy, Labour needs to do to the NHS what it has done on rail and energy

    “A radical manifesto which transforms our society… A new settlement for our country”.  That was Angela Eagle’s promise to delegates in Milton Keynes last weekend and, in many areas, they will be happy with what has been agreed. One million new homes built over the next Parliament, a radical overhaul of the energy market, and part re-nationalisation of the rail network.  Put together and these ideas have the potential of forming a new settlement akin and worthy of those achieved […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The policies are great, but what about the money?

    The policies are great, but what about the money?

    After four years of massive cuts, 2015 is the year when council finances will start to fall off a cliff. Local government has borne the brunt of the cuts to public spending since 2010. My Council, Islington, typical of authorities in urban areas across the country, has lost 35% of its budget over the last four years. That’s a staggering £112 million. Councils have done a great job of coping with these cuts. My Council has gone through a process […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Londoners don’t want a staffless, soulless Tube system

    Londoners don’t want a staffless, soulless Tube system

    The London Underground is the single most important piece of public infrastructure in the capital. Over three million people use the Tube each day, to get to work, visit family or see friends. A healthy Underground network is at the heart of a healthy, vibrant London. It is a fantastic system that is the envy of the modern world, but we must ensure we do not neglect our crown jewel. Later  today, I will be addressing a conference on the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Fairness dictates that we show concern for both sides

    Fairness dictates that we show concern for both sides

    We have all been shocked to see the surge in violence between Israel and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. This conflict is causing enormous hardship on both sides. Particularly distressing is the sight of civilian casualties. The scale of human suffering in the current escalation is immense and every civilian casualty is a tragedy. The people of Gaza have the right to live in peace and freedom, just as Israelis have the right not to fear for […]

    Read more →
  • News Are Osborne’s spinners block journalists from asking questions they don’t like?

    Are Osborne’s spinners block journalists from asking questions they don’t like?

    An intriguing story emerged from a copy of the Express and Star last week, the regional newspaper that covers the West Midlands and Staffordshire. Daniel Wainwright reports that during a recent visit from the Chancellor, a radio journalist said she wanted to ask George Osborne about food banks, and was told that he simply wouldn’t answer it. Here’s the story: “Talking of George Osborne, here’s a little insight into what goes on in the run up to getting an interview. These […]

    Read more →