Leading article: Instant return

Now we see what Britain has been missing these past four long years. Peter Mandelson only rejoined the domestic political fray 20 days ago and look at what splendid drama he has already delivered for us: betrayed confidences, broken friendships and a good old-fashioned political scandal. And what a luxurious backdrop: a sun-kissed Greek island, the yacht of a Russian oligarch, the villa of a Rothschild. It sounds more like a James Bond film than a Westminster bun fight.

Yesterday we wondered whether such a tale of decadence and influence-peddling would irritate Britons, as they huddle together for protection against the cold winds of autumn and recession. But on second thoughts, isn't this just the sort of fantastic escapism we could do with in these drab days?

And we have one man to thank: Baron Mandelson of Foy. Was ever an instant peerage so richly deserved?