Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mandy becomes the story

The downside risk with having Peter Mandelson in your cabinet is that he becomes the story. This is what has happened today with the coverage of what he might or might not have said to George Osborne over a convivial meal in a Greek taverna (ITV appeared to have taken the trouble to locate the taverna, although I am not sure how the authenticity of the story was enhanced by rows of upturned empty glasses).

Mandelson was, of course, hounded by the media on the second occasion he was ejected from ministerial office and in retrospect it would appear that this campaign was unfairly based.

Mandelson was certainly popular with civil servants at what was then the Department of Trade and Industry, as shown by them all coming out to greet him in the foyer on Friday.

At least Gordon Brown can't be accused of dithering over this appointment. It was a bold move, but hopefully not a courageous one in the 'Yes Minister' sense. Mandy took the option of 'phoning a friend', one Tony Blair, before deciding to accept, but the former prime minister told him that it was a 'no brainer'.

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