Sometime tomorrow, this website will publish issue 2 of its magazine Enjoy The Silence.
The issue is a beauty, with a lot of great pieces on stuff like the referendum and the election we’ve just come out of. One of the articles, by a guy called John Bleasdale, is on the Labour Party and their absolute failure to accept the defeat as something they caused themselves.
I’m not going to nick John’s article although I’ll cover a wee bit of the ground. In the main, I’m going to talk about Peter Mandelson, and the interview he’s just given to The New York Times, where he has turned the guns, again, on Ed Miliband and his policies.
Let me tell you, there are few people in politics as over-rated and loathsome as Peter Mandelson.
For years he’s taken enormous pleasure in being hated, and he thinks being feared too.
If you’ve ever seen him in the flesh you’ll know fear is not the emotion he inspires in you.
On the one occasion I met him he stood all night with his back to most of the room.
In short, I found him insufferably ignorant.
I later read that he learned that trick from The Queen; she often does it at major events when she doesn’t want to mix with any of the guests. Indeed, she did it to Mandelson himself at the launch of the Millennium Dome, to the amusement of a lot of the hack-pack.
Mandelson is a self-serving and self-aggrandising halfwit. His skills, such as they are, lie in shameless self-promotion, combined with an odd ability to flatter and ingratiate himself with other people. Although Mandelson likes to think of himself as someone wielding tremendous power, he has actually spent the better part of his career as the gofer for others, those who actually do hold enormous influence in their hands.
It’s his proximity to them that makes him someone to be reckoned with, or so he thinks.
Actually, many of them view him with undisguised contempt.
Rupert Murdoch, for whom he’s written this latest atrocious screed, once labelled him “a starfucker” for the way he would flutter around those with wealth or a famous name.
It is, of course, a matter of record that his own “friends” were the ones who twice nearly destroyed his political career in the Blair governments in which he served, and from which he was sacked.
Mandelson also has a short memory.
On 23 April he gave an effusive and gushing interview to the press where he told them how Miliband “had exceeded expectations.”
He then predicted a win for Labour, saying, “I started feeling at the end of last week that something had shifted, that the plates had moved and Labour has captured a Zeitgeist in this campaign.”
This is the same campaign he is now saying was shambolic and focussed on the wrong priorities and on the wrong people.
Mandelson likes to give the appearance of always being in the know, of always being right, but his career is littered with disasters and reversals and occasions when he was caught completely cold by circumstances or individuals.
In short, he is a shocking reader of the political landscape, and of the people in it.
He also likes to give the appearance of having been loyal, but this is the most laughable suggestion of all.
Everyone who has ever kept Mandelson close has had cause to regret it. He is the poisonous character in the famous fable of the frog and the scorpion, the one who lashes out at his partner without thinking, in the middle of the river, drowning them both.
His proclivity for treachery is notorious, and damning, and it comes through again, loud and clear, in his latest shocking piece.
His most offensive suggestion, by far, is that Miliband was using the election to practice the “politics of class war.”
I’ve seen class war. I live in Glasgow, where there are entire communities that have been devastated by its effects.
Class war is exactly what David Cameron and his government have been waging, relentlessly, for five long years and with their guns not quite sighted in. Now, with a majority to play with, the brutalising will start for real.
Class war in Britain means the rich targeting the poor. It means the state being bent out of its intended shape of protecting the vulnerable to keeping them in their place in case they start to rock the boat.
Class war is the province of those who have the power on their side, because otherwise you simply get ploughed under.
If Mandelson knows class war at all, it’s from the other side of it, the side with all the weapons, the side that always wins.
Miliband would know even less about it, although his father certainly would have.
His sons, on the other hand, were brought up not knowing anything but the good life.
This doesn’t prepare one for life in the trenches, at the sharp end of the bayonets.
Mhairi Black knows about class war.
This is the girl whose last job was in a chip shop, and who comes from Paisley, a place which recognise the scars and the bomb craters all too well. Natalie McGarry knows all about it, and she’s going to get to know it better now that she’s representing the East End of Glasgow.
Nicola Sturgeon, who represents Govan, knows all about it too and her current position has not caused her to forget the casualties.
A lot of the Labour MP’s who were ousted during this election knew about class war too, once, but they forgot which side of it they were supposed to be on. They went to London and filled their pockets with expenses cash and subsidies, mixed with the jet-set, and then voted for the welfare cap.
They then took part in a campaign which sought to inflict further austerity on those who had little to begin with; they committed to renewing weapons of mass destruction; they moved to end universality in the social security system and would have legislated to limit – but not end – tuition fees, forcing thousands of poor kids to choose between no prospects and heinous debts.
How dare Mandelson speak in that language about something of which he knows virtually nil.
There were constituencies all over England during this race where the second placed party to Labour wasn’t the Tories; it was UKIP. The consequences of Labour’s campaign, where class was not mentioned at all, where it was barely acknowledged, can be measured in hundreds of thousands of lost votes and, in the end, a lost election.
If they continue down the road of promoting the leadership ambitions of “acceptable faces” like Umunna at the expense of politicians with real substance, the defeat of this month will seem like a massage compared to what’s coming.
In Scotland, they already face a mountainous task if they are ever to be taken seriously as a party of government again and the direction of the political tide in England looks as if it will make it impossible for a left wing Labour party to emerge down there, with knock-on consequences that will doom them to oblivion north of the border for years and years to come.
They appear not to fully comprehend the size of the hole they are in.
What’s worse, they appear to lack the intelligence to start the long, difficult task of climbing their way out of the grave.
Hell mend them for their stupidity, and blindness, and lack of class.
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