Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 23 July 2004

Mandelson rumoured to be named UK's new EU Commissioner

Peter Mandelson has twice resigned, so far, from high office in controversial circumstances, but rumours (no doubt fuelled by leaks orchestrated by 10 Downing Street) that he is now to be named as our sole EU Commissioner (*) from the UK are swirling around.
* - reduced from two until now, to make way for the new countries which joined the EU in May 2004.

It is only a week ago since there was another telelvised attempt to explain Mandelson to a not-so-loving public (the occasion was an interview by former spin doctor in chief to Tony Blair, Alistair Capmpbell, broadcast on Five TV) and like all such attempts to resurrect this man's political reputation was clearly orchestrated to prepare a credulous public for his return to a major position in public life.

The fact that Peter Mandelson is a gay man should not blind anyone to the fact that he, like Tony Blair, is a danger to British democracy - even if I was surprised to hear the vehemence of Germaine Greer last night on 'The Week in Politics', Andrew Neil's political slot on late-night BBC2 television. She cited many of the themes that have been exercising me for several years about this government and whilst I don't go quite as far as she did last night in using 'scare' language to describe some of the changes planned or passed by this government, I definitely agree with the broad thrust of her arguments. Just a few - ID cards, trial by jury, satellite monitoring for road pricing purposes of all vehicular traffic, various measures taken purportedly to protect us against terrorism, the emasculation of the House of Lords. Peter Mandelson has been a prime political strategist for this government since before it came to power and has undoubtedly continued to exercise his skills in employing propaganda since he resigned for the second time a few years ago. On the two occasions he held high office he showed in different ways his unfitness for such positions; it is folly of an almost unimaginable scale to allow him anywhere near high public office again, gay man or not. This is a direct reflection on Tony Blair and calls his own continuing fitness for high office into question, depsite my firm belief that he was correct in his basic strategy over Iraq.

UPDATE: (Friday 23JUL 11.30 BST) Mandelson's nomination as an EU Commissioner is confirmed.
2ND UPDATE: (Friday 23JUL 13.15 BST) It is being reported on the main BBC1 lunchtime news that Blair had wanted to bring Mandelson back into the cabinet, but backed-off in the face of strong opposition from several other members of the cabinet. At least this shows there are some people in the cabinet prepared to stand up to Tony Balir and prevent him from making an even more outrageous appointment.
3RD UPDATE: (Friday 23JUL 15.10 BST) I've just seen Mandelson interviewed by Mark Mardell on BBC News24. He's a slick speaker, no doubt about that, but his assertion that only those who are generally anti-EU will be opoosed to his appointment whereas (according to him) those who are pro-EU will be glad to have a strong proponent of the EU like him in Brussels, is glib to say the least. For the reocrd, and to confirm what anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will already know, I am fervently pro-EU. He seems to equate the EU with himself; rather arrogant, but no surprise there.
4TH UPDATE (Saturday 24JUL 10.20 BST) The propaganda war to resurrect the reputation of Peter Mandelson continues. Read this and see if you are any more convinced than me.

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