Gordon Brown is wrong about what he got wrong, says Peter Mandelson

Written by David Singleton on 9 November 2017 in Diary

It’s all about the modernisation for Lord Mandy.

The first reviews are in for Gordon Brown’s memoirs.

In the FT, George Parker says the former prime minister provides "some score-settling, more self-criticism than one might expect, and a sense of deep frustration that his long wait to become prime minister ended with him struggling to cope with the job and seeing his economic legacy come crashing down".

In The Guardian, David Hare asserts that Brown can "write extremely well" but is guilty of a "neurotic insistence on his own faultless record".

And in The Evening Standard, Peter Mandelson reckons that his Labour colleague has shown that he still hasn’t got a clue why he failed to win the 2010 election.

"Brown did not suffer defeat because he wasn’t good enough at selling himself or his vision for the country — insufficiently “touchy, feely”, as he suggests in the book —  but because he never seemed able to reconcile a robust and renewed modernisation agenda, which combined reform as well as investment, with his commitment to social justice."

"Brown’s favouring of Ed Miliband over his brother David took Labour further down this course and has continued under Jeremy Corbyn. Modernisation is too often caricatured as privatisation in this book, and fails to grasp that New Labour’s reform agenda was not in opposition to social justice, but the only way in a changing world to achieve it."

The comments make it clear that New Labour architect is as big a Blairite as he ever was. But to underline the point, Lord Mandelson concludes:

“The lesson we will all take from this book is that political success comes from retaining the spirit we had in 1997…”




Picture by: Dan Kitwood/PA Archive/PA Images.

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