The Thick of It


Monday, October 27, 2008


Wherever Peter Mandelson has been there is sure to follow a media storm. The Prince of Darkness has been known as a master of spin, however his abrasive style has always attracted mud. The Tories fear Mandelson so will attack him. The media dislike Mandelson so they will attack him.

Mandelson will always give as good as he gets. George Osbourne was naive to think he could make Mandelson's criticisms of Gordon Brown public and get away with it. Bringing Mandelson back was still a good move by Brown. At the very least the media is now talking about the Tories and about Mandelson and has left Brown to get on with his job.

I expect Mandelson to survive the current maelstrom of media attention. It doesn't look like he has done anything wrong. He hadn't broken any rules previously with the loan from Geoffrey Robinson or the Hinduja passport "affair." Contacts between powerful businessmen and powerful politicians may look distasteful but it is naive to think they will never happen or never did.

Osbourne has now apologised: "To be honest this didn't look very good and that's something I regret." Both parties have slung mud at each other. Nothing can be proven either way. Mandelson can live with the attacks. It is going to be interesting to see how the Tories deal with their first real public scrutiny in some time.

State funding of political parties would of course remove many of the suspected underhand deals between business and politics. Neither of the main parties want this as they both seem to be infected by the desire to woo big business and big donations.

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