Evidently Peter Mandelson consulted Tony Blair before accepting Gordon Brown’s exceptionally kind offer to return to Government. What a surprise. It’s pretty clear Gordo’s going nowhere without the patronage of the former PM. Just as with Mandelson the very idea that Blair or New Labour were vanishing has just been a mirage, or for some of us who fought for Labour to come to power a forlorn hope.
The comment by Mandelson that “he is joined at the hip with Brown” is a trifle ambiguous when you think about it. Perhaps he means they are jolly good mates and any rift between him and Gordo, TB and Gordo is past. It could mean on the other hand “I’m standing right beside him holding a knife to his back and he better understand that”. Like the New Labour modernisation intrigue it’s very much there fighting a rearguard action. The question for us is do we want more of this, or would we be better off with the real Tories driven into obscurity when a better Thatcherite appeared on the scene.
The first real test arrives today as shares plunge wildly across Europe. The friendly togetherness portrayed as a select few European governments, including Brown for Britain, met to decide collectively what to do. Now Chancellor Merkel, part of the group to have met, has announced unilaterally that Germany will guarantee bank deposits, as have Ireland, Greece and Denmark. Precisely what Gordo and Mandy didn’t want to happen and didn’t apparently expect. Now what can be done? As Mandy perceptibly observed (ie pretty bloody obvious) that this could lead to economic nationalism. Merkel had previously announced she was against doing just that. Well if Gordo’ found someone he can blame when things get out of hand I suppose he’s the one who will triumph???
Interesting to read that Jon Cruddas turned down the invitation to join the party. The Brown idea to open doors to a wide political spectrum has been compromised. I, like many others, have left New Labour to their own devices. I felt for a time it was important to stay inside the tent but it became clear (many others knew this before) that New Labour is lost to any vestiges of socialism or pretence thereof. Cruddas presumably feels that there is little that can be done form the left given the aggressive market-driven entity that is New Labour. All we have is party competing with party to be better at wooing capitalism. Where the will is to try and even control it beyond what has to be done to get through this crisis I can’t see.