Look I have absolutely nothing against Peter Mandelson's ability to do a competent job in Government, he seems like an intelligent fellow and most people seem to agree he did a not-bad job in Northern Ireland and that when at the DTI he probably did an OK job too. His similar role in the EU as the UK's sole Commissioner there, even if I certainly did not agree that all he did there was entirely wise, is generally reckoned to have been pretty successful too. Whether I agree with David Blunkett that bringing Mandelson back into the Cabinet as Business Secretary is a good thing is another matter entirely. Also, whether I'd want him on my Christmas Card list is a very different matter, but I suppose we all have to deal with people who have a rather too easy attitude toward probity; I've written about him in this area a few times the past after all (here and here for example).
What worries me though is the fact there is a long-standing history of animosity between Brown and Mandelson (ever since the latter supported Blair to be Leader in 1994) and the way Mandelson seems to rub so many people in the Labour Party up the wrong way (I think a part of the reason why he arouses such strong feelings amongst many others in the Labour Party is that he is very much a 'champagne socialist' and he is very clever and doesn't care who knows it and, however much the official stance of the Labour Party is to be 'right on' with notions of homosexuality, one can't help feeling that many of his fellow 'comrades' in the Labour Party find him a bit of an enigma.); that wouldn't worry me in the sightest if they were all private individuals or even the Opposition, but Labour is (Gawd help us!) still the Government of this country and the last thing we need right now is yet another cause of internal bickering in our Cabinet, although I must admit I was, despite myself, reasonably impressed with Brown's comments on it today when he seemd to acknowledge their earlier differences and stress only the need to 'pull together'. So in one way it might be regarded as reasonably positive, but I'm afraid at the back of my mind a voice is shouting that things must be really desperate for Brown to bring one of his arch-foes back into his Cabinet and to have to speak about him so positively.