Leading article: Blame game

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Asked in Brussels this week for his view on why the Irish voted "no" to the Lisbon treaty, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, offered a single name: "Mandelson".

Peter Mandelson, European Trade Commissioner, formerly of the parish of Westminster, has no shortage of enemies. In his time, he has been accused of double-dealing, back-stabbing, bullying and dissembling. John Prescott once likened him to a crab. And those are some of the milder responses he has inspired among his colleagues.

But not even Mr Mandelson can be presented as the reason why the Irish rejected Lisbon. So we offer our congratulations to M. Sarkozy. The French President has not only put his finger on one of the few factors that did not trouble the Irish electorate; he has also come up with the only charge in the political universe that cannot fairly be laid at Mr Mandelson's door.