Simon Carr: True lies... a masterclass in the art of interview

The Sketch: Why aren't people rallying to Peter Mandelson as next leader of the Labour Party?

Share
Related Topics

What a performance (
The Andrew Marr Show, yesterday). Why aren't people rallying to Peter Mandelson as next leader of the Labour Party? It's true the answer to that would overload the internet, but he is clearly the superior of every cabinet colleague – including the Prime Minister – in weight, delivery, temperament, strategic intelligence, personal command, professional control. He even has charm when he chooses to deploy it, in his dusty, reluctant smile.

But in that way of talking he has, there lies the mystery. How he can bestride the political world and yet say things that are so untrue they come out of his mouth in a different colour? For instance ...

Marr: "Can you look me in the eye and say Gordon Brown got the reshuffle he wanted?"

Mandelson looked him in the eye and said: "Yes, I can."

So that email he wrote, describing Brown as insecure, uncomfortable, angry, a loser. Were they his words? He said, somehow without denying it: "No."

Also ... he didn't want to go to the Foreign Office. Hazel Blears is at ease with Gordon Brown's style of leadership. And as for Ed Balls blaming him for not getting the Treasury? "Ed and I laughed out loud at this stupid fabrication!"

It's hyperbole dressed as journalism. Noises off. A sideshow. "But are you going to hear me complain about the media?"

Marr: "You've done nothing else for the last 20 minutes!" Mandelson sailed on. All Labour has to do is "get the policies right, get the Cabinet working as a team, get the party behind us and genetically create a unicorn out of reconstituted DNA and public opinion will turn the corner". Incidentally, one item in that list was hyperbole dressed as journalism.

Still, occasionally even he can't pull it off. "The Prime Minister needs to be what he is," he said. What is that? An absurd, boastful, insecure, angry loser. Who said so? Peter Mandelson? No. Or as we hyperbolic tittle-tattlers say, "Yes".

On the timing of his part-privatisation of the Post Office going through the Commons, all Marr could get was: "In due course. Next? What's your next question?"

The next question is how will Gordon Brown survive this Post Office Bill when 100 backbenchers will unseat him if he puts it into the Commons, and Mandelson will unseat him if he doesn't?

Mandelson's last word was the truest: "People in the Cabinet think highly of Gordon Brown and are united against him." He may not have meant it like that, but Gordon's unifying force is plain to see.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Researcher

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Controller

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Head Porter / Concierge

£16000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The UCAS clearing house call centre in Cheltenham, England  

Ucas should share its data on students from poor backgrounds so we can get a clearer picture of social mobility

Conor Ryan
A study of 16 young women performing light office work showed that they were at risk of being over-chilled by air conditioning in summer  

It's not just air conditioning that's guilty of camouflage sexism

Mollie Goodfellow
Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks