Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Raising The Dead - Peter Mandelson Returns

The return to government of the disgraced (twice) Peter Mandelson has produced some of the most sustained and vitriolic newspaper comments that I have seen for quite some time. Today, the Sun refers to him as Lord Stench, and the Daily Mail - fairly vibrating with righteous ire - ran the headline "Arise Lord Sleaze".

Of course, they both refer to the need to shoe-horn Mandy into the House of Lords so he can wiggle his way back in to Gordon Brown-Trousers' cabinet. That's hardly surprising, is it? Nobody in their right mind would vote for him, so the chances of the Prince of Darkness getting his old job back through the conventional, democratic method of being elected as an MP in a by election are effectively zero.

Still, nobody elected Gordon Brown-Trousers as Prime Minister, either, did they, so I don't suppose he'll be too worried about the undemocratic imposition of Mandy upon an already struggling nation. The plan seems to be to quash all the Labour in-fighting by recruiting Blair's henchman, suggesting that the former PM wants everyone, including the Blairite survivors, to unite behind the PM.

That's quite a tall order, and although calls for the PM's head are noticabley diminished this week, I doubt it can all be attributed to Many - the deepening fincial crisis has probably had a sobering effect on the more rebellious Labour MPs, as they begin to realise that they now have even less hope of finding a job when the lose their seats at the next election.

Whatever the tactical reasons for digging up the political corpse of Peter Mandelson's career, it's done nothing to improve Gordon Brown-Trousers' populatity. Everyone knows that they've been mortal enemies for years, and recalling him now looks far more like an act of total desperation than statesmanship. People also remember that Mandy stepped down in disgrace, not once but TWICE.

Anyone can make a mistake, and should be allowed a second chance. But two mistakes, both equally sleazy-looking, by one of the most influential figures in the government of the day are just not acceptable. To reward the perpetrator with a peerage and drag him back into government, on a generous salary together with other perks, smaks of rewarding sleaze and scraping the very bottom of a dirty barrel.

It's difficult to imagine anyone less likely to make a return to mainstream politics, or less welcome to do so, and the expressions on the faces of various TV reporters when his return was announced last week were a sight to behold. Even these erudite individuals were almost struck dumb by the sheer improbability of the story they were forced to report, and their staggered disbelief was, I am sure, echoed in living rooms up and down the land.

Only an arrogant, out of touch Prime Minister with no regard for the British population, or a PM at the absolute end of his tether, with no other options, would dream of making such an overwhelmingly unpopular appointment. Clearly, all of the above applied and the result is that we are now saddled, yet again, with Peter Mandelson in the cabinet.

I doubt he'll be there very long, though, and it will be interesting to see whether his departure comes through resignation (AGAIN), New Labour's landslide loss at the next election or the PM sacking him when he realises that he's after his job. But even when the odious man has been evicted, yet again, from the cabinet, he'll still be Lord M, entitled to hand around in the Lords doing nothing very much and getting paid to turn up. Nice work if you can get it.

Billy Seggars.

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