Friday, October 03, 2008

Brown Keeps Enemy Close As Mandy Moves In

Arch Blairite, uber plotter, architect of New Labour and all round bad egg, Peter Mandleson, is back in the cabinet after a few years plotting behind Brown's back in Brussels and making sure his man Tony gets the top job of the EU presidency.

As Brown rearranges the Titanic's deck-chairs  with a cabinet shuffle, Mandleson's appointment to a beefed up business job, comes as a shock and much of the media, including Murdoch's Cameron supporting Sun, and the Mandy bashing Daily Mail will have a field day. 

With 'Mandy' Mandleson, it's a case of Brown keeping his friend close but his enemies even closer. But he should watch his back.

There's no love lost between Brown and the Prince, now Lord of Darkness, who was plotting behind the scenes and out in the open, in the Blairite leadership challenges to Brown. Brown even tried to prise Mandy out of his EU commissioner job, only to be told he had no authority to do so. 

To ease the pain of Mandleson and as a sop to the Party, popular left-winger, Jon Cruddas was at one time being spun as tipped for 'promotion'. 

But Cruddas, who wowed delegates at the Labour Party conference and is seen as one of the few true Labour voices that could mount a serious challenge to the New Labour gang, has been kept out of the loop.

It's third time lucky for Mandleson, as he said himself this afternoon but third time unlucky for the rest of us. The disgraced minister was in and out of Blair's government like a yo-yo. He held two cabinet posts before quitting over dodgy dealings and was finally given the plum job as EU trade commissioner.

The feud between Brown and Mandelson goes back years, ever since the odd couple fell out, when Mandelson backed Blair for the Labour leadership in 1994.

Elsewhere, most of the cry babies in the cabinet look to have kept their top jobs after threatening to quit en masse if Brown tried to move them. And Ed Miliband, tipped here as a possible chancellor, is climbing up the greasy pole, heading up a new energy and environment super-department. 

A tinkering at the edges sees a few other insignificant changes of insignificant faces as Brown tries to head off the increasingly powerful challenges from both within his own government and from the Conservatives and SNP.

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