Labour in Blackpool/ Conference Notebook: 'Bobby' dazzles in ritzy regime

THE PROFESSOR of Spin Doctoring, Peter Mandelson, has been taking an unusually high profile in spinning for Tony Blair at the party conference.

Neil Kinnock's former aide, who has slipped effortlessly into a similar role with Mr Blair, normally operates from behind the scenes. Yesterday, he went on the BBC and attacked Arthur Scargill and Ken Livingstone as the 'enemy' within the Labour Party for undermining the Labour leader's efforts to modernise the people's party.

Mr Livingstone responded in kind, saying: 'There must be something really tragic that happened to him in his childhood, but I am so used to his views I am prepared to forgive him his bitter little asides and I hope he will get better soon. The alternative view is that he is a Martian sent to the planet to exterminate all forms of life on Earth. But I take a charitable view.'

'Bobby' Mandelson has been the butt of jokes from Labour MPs on the conference fringe. Peter Hain told the Tribune rally: 'We'll no longer have long service awards. In the ritzy-glitzy Labour Party we'll get Mandelson medals.'

Some of Mr Mandelson's colleagues relished the moment, late at night on the promenade, when he was given a roasting by one journalist who felt he had been left out of a briefing on the Blair speech. 'That's the first time I have ever seen anyone stand up to Bobby like that,' commented one of his friends.

Some members of the Shadow Cabinet believe the first task for Mr Blair's new press secretary, Alastair Campbell, will be to tell Mr Mandelson to concentrate on his day job as MP for Hartlepool. But they will be disappointed. Mr Campbell and Mr Mandelson are genuinely great friends.

Jack Straw, the shadow environment spokesman, will be the leading frontbench speaker today in the law and order debate, raising speculation that he is being fitted up for the Home Office job in Mr Blair's reshuffle. Labour spin doctors explained he was taking the lead because home affairs had been arranged as part of the local government debate.

Mr Straw will remind the conference that it was in that hall, a year ago to the day, that the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, announced to the Tory party conference the pledge to introduce 27 measures to tackle crime. So far, he has managed to implement six.

The Labour leadership is collecting variations on Tony Blair's theme of 'tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime' for a slim volume. So far it has 'tough on prejudice and tough on the causes of prejudice' (Jeannie Evans, Wokingham); 'tough on conflict (in Ireland) and tough on the causes of conflict' (Ann Kane, Hackney South and Shoreditch); 'tough on Clause IV and tough on the causes of Clause IV' (Peter Hain), and 'tough on grime, and tough on the causes of grime' (Chris Smith). (That's enough 'tough ons' - Ed).

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before