“Blairites for Browne”

John Rentoul

third 300x300 Blairites for BrownePeter Mandelson had to be dissuaded from supporting the Coalition’s policy of raising tuition fees, he says in the preface to the paperback edition of his The Third Man:

It was I, after all, who had set up the Browne Review … I assumed, as the Treasury did, that the outcome would have to include a significant increase in tuition fees. I felt they would certainly have to double in order to offset the deficit-reduction measures that we too would have implemented had we won the election.

When the Bill came to the Lords, Mandelson writes:

I now felt that in all honesty I should support Browne’s conclusions, which seemed to be well thought-out, and the Coalition’s general direction of travel – though not their tripling of fees.

But Ed Miliband helped to persuade him not to “weigh in”. Now, however, Lord Mandelson feels he can say what he thinks. He reveals that he was nearly a member of a group that Conservative ministers were trying to organise, of “Blairites for Browne”. One minister approached David Miliband to see if he would be part of such an initiative, but the older brother laughed and said: “We fell for that once before.”

Mandelson is icily polite on the surface about the younger brother in his new preface, but is in fact rather rude, saying of Ed in government:

He shared Gordon’s preference for an alternative graduate tax, even when our research concluded that it was simply unworkable.

He also reveals that:

Ed’s frequent criticism to me about Gordon as Prime Minister was that he didn’t say and do what he really believed, that he was always trapped between his personal instincts and what he felt he could get away with, and that this was why people had such negative perceptions of him.

Which could be double-edged, because that is precisely the criticism that is beginning to develop about Ed Miliband: that he is being persuaded by his advisers to rein in his Harmanist instincts.

And Mandelson lends subtle support to the thesis that the Labour leader is indecisive:

From my own previous association with Ed, I knew he would think long and hard before he settled on a clear, consistent course of his own.

As he says:

Ed was our leader. He was my leader. I would do all I could to help make his leadership a success.

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  • ineluctable2u

    This is the personification of OCD writ large that has informed our history since we could decipher it and then, ( obviously, some time prior…) oh dear, but, we have to make a choice. It is as if some newspaper proprietors are prepared to be frozen in this ghastly soupy mess of boy adulation.

    Okaaay, Sunday dinner has been eaten: the five mile jog enjoyed; Rentoul is still this etiolated and superficial fan of a war criminal, Tony Blair. He is a phenomenally closed book of bias and prejudice and it is astonishing to me that someone like this, with a limited writing fluency, charisma or even obvious interest remains on a newspaper purporting to be INDEPENDENT.

  • ineluctable2u

    Wooooah, and you’re not an antediluvian prat that is prepared to peddle notions of misogynistic nastiness, that you might make a point. The only thing that surprises me is that you are not pretending to know anyone you deem ‘ famous’ today. Oh dear… What happened? You were past over?

  • erikasalzeck

    Tell me that pretentious, self satisfied cover is not for real…

  • postageincluded

    And do you know, old straight men are completely uninterested by pretty young women. So very different from those awful old gays.

    Perhaps now you’ve got that off your chest you’d like to spew about Mr Mandelson’s ethnicity too? Go on. Spoil us.

  • BlairSupporter

    @AG – wanabet?

  • hunfred

    Hell has no fury like a Mandy ignored.Shall we do that,Ignore him.

  • AlanGiles

    If you think Blair is going to make some Lazarous-like return (or Mandelson either) you must be even more deluded than I thought you were already

  • BlairSupporter

    OK, AG. That’s me told.



  • BlairSupporter

    Oh, I don’t know, ineluctable. I actually give the Indie a round of applause for employing Rentoul. After all, THIS is the paper which came out most determinedly against Iraq. In that it was ANYthing but ‘independent’. It was a ViewsPaper, and firmly opinionated. And wrong, imho.

    But I give them some nous for having Rentoul as one of their most read writers.

    That’s probably the reason he still writes for them. That and the fact that he is a good, honest and principled man. Like Tony Blair.

  • Ciaran Rehill

    Do you mean “passed over”? If English is not your first language, I strongly suspect this to be true, I can recommend an excellent tutor.

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