Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Hardest Love

There comes a moment in everyone's life that in order to get a reward you have to bury the hatchet and at least make the pretence of getting along.

I used to find this hard enough as a child when someone would say that in order to have a game of football you had to include the class dolt who couldn't play the game even after lessons by Bobby Charlton - but because it was their ball you had to let them play. As you grow up you often get into situations where you have to hold your tongue and try to get along with someone because the boss says so. I suppose with politicians, it just comes with the territory.

But how slimey it must feel to stand up in front of a couple of thousands of people and the cameras of national tv and, without gritted teeth, stand there and bare faced lie to say how much you think of someone you inwardly despise. Once finished, and you have eulogised some idiot for the sake of your career, you get off the stage after tumultuous applause by those who seem quite convinced by what you say, then find the nearest toilet and vomit violently. Just for good measure, I would find the nearest confessional and plead for forgiveness and thank God for not sending down a thunderbolt when you were actually talking, so heinous was your lie.

Well now you know how Gordon Brown must feel, and for that matter, Peter Mandelson too. Yesterday, they did the equivalent of 'taking one for the Party' and buried their hatchets in shallow ground as they will have to find them again next June when they lose the election, and they talked of each other in glowing terms.

Mandy talked of his pledge of 'undivided loyalty' for Gordon Brown. It was clever wording, as he could easily say at a later date that while his loyalty was undivided there wasn't much of it. Equally, he talked of how Gordon Brown had 'gripped' the financial crisis when other leaders had made mistakes. He was also careful to say that Brown had not caused the crisis by his mistakes but at least, in his opinion, he had done something when it all unravelled in front of him. I think the electorate may have other opinions, frankly, but I susppose what else could he say? Peter Mandelson is the consummate political operator and it is why his own Party dislike him more than the voters - which believe me is saying something - but even he could not talk with any great affection about what Brown has done. You can bet your bottom dollar that in the aftermath of an election loss, Mandelson will be the man to to deliver the coup de gras to Gordon Brown's career.

You have to remember that Mandelson is fabled as having said that when Brown had asked him to borrow 10p to phone a friend, Mandy had replied. 'Here's 20p, phone them all.' Faking love, is the hardest love of all.

What the speech showed was where the power lies in this country. The twice disgraced Mandelson was recalled to Government by the only method allowable via a peerage and then given effectively the leadership of the country as atrade to help save Labour from total annihilation. How it must have gagged in Gordon Brown's throat to accommodate the man who had effectively held back his career for so long by standing behind his arch rival Tony Blair. How it must have hurt his very soul to know that in order to survive he had to resurrect the career of a man he loathed so much. I could call Gordon Brown a lot of things but I would have guessed that he harbaours a grudge with a great deal of passion. But that's politics.

The impression of Gordon Brown in his 10 years of day-counting to the time he would be Prime Minister in 11 Downing Street, was one of a deeply principled man who would not do things just for political sensationalism unlike his predecessor. But we have seen the other side of him. We should have known that he would connive and behave like a spoilt schoolkid who thinks it his turn to have a go on the bike as he sent his bully boys to snipe away at Blair to get his go at the helm of the country. He was like a moody teenager or the school bully who sent others to do his bidding which did not bode well for us. We all thought that even if he did behave like a spoilt brat at least would hold true to some of the traditional Labour values.

Nope, when it came to it, he was stroking the backside of a Gadaffi too for oil deals, willing to trade a mass murderer for a few quid. When the whole financial crisis unravelled in front of us, while he seemed to protect the interests of the common account holder at places like Northern Rock, all he did was save the necks of a few rich people who had lost billions that he was happy for everyone of us to pay for. Even now, as Darling talks of curbing City bonsues, we are long after the event and it has not cured the basic problem of a flawed banking system as Brown depends on unbridled profiglacy in money making to get the kind of growth back in the country to stand a snowball's chance in hell of reducing debt by a single pound by 2015 let alone halve it as he is manically talking about. He allowed his old chum, Fred Goodwin, to walk away with millions when tellers at the same bank were sacked with nothing because he did not care enough about the right people but loved the rich.

Now Gordon Brown has had to swallow all his pride and tell us, straight faced, that his Party should be 'proud' of Peter Mandelson's contribution of the Party. It stopped well short of backing the guy, of saying he liked him or even that what he has done was any good but it still was a complete lie and we all know it. Mandelson's contribution has always been to deeply divide his Party and it is only in his rehabilitation to power as he ever achieved anything of note - and that only is to have a title he does not deserve and that makes a mockery of the whole peerage system.

But after all these years, the man (Mandelson) who architected the whole New Labour Project is still his own biggest fan. He even had the audacity, in his recent speech, to say that, 'Tony always said that the New Labour Project would never be complete until the Labour Party learned to love him. Well maybe Tony set the bar too high, but I am trying my best.'

I think the whole concept of the New Labour has long since been condemned to the muckpile as Britain wallows in the mess it created. That's the lack of reality that Mandelson and Brown have. The rest of the Labour Party may enjoy Mandelson's showmanship but they know that the election is already lost and just vacuous self congratulations and mock love-ins are not going to convince the electorate that a) anyone knows what they are doing anymore and b) that any of them can be trusted.

Well that's show business and politics, I suppose. It remains to be seen whether anyone outside of the Brighton shares the same sentiments of the man who has made politicians one of the most distrusted breed of people in Britain.

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