Friday, October 03, 2008
I don't get the Mandelson appointment at all. I don't really think the idea of inviting ex-ministers back when they've been put out to grass is generally a great idea, unless they're brilliant, or clearly have exceptional skills. As a spin doctor, and co-creator of the New Labour brand there is no doubting that Mandelson was brilliant, but as a minister, he was distinctly middling, and had to twice fall on his sword for serious political misjudgements and misdemeanours. Hardly a glittering cv. In Brussels, too, it would be difficult to say he has cut a swathe through trade regulation and revamped that bureaucratic mess. So why get him back? The BBC's Nick Robinson is gobsmacked, others hail it as a masterstroke; to me it looks like a prime minister who's run out of options falling back on the safety net of a few old hands - as well as Mandelson, Campbell's back in favour, Margaret Beckett's back in the cabinet, Derek Draper's busy plotting and spinning on behalf of the government. Just like old times, but hardly a move forward!