Is he anything like as smart as his billing?
Yesterday’s big statement, Brown’s latest re-launch, is the first such major government move since Lord Mandelson was promoted to his unique new position in charge of just about everything.
So how come it got such a terrible press this morning. How come that the work of the “great communicator” failed to add the “Mandelson magic” to the programme? Where was the skilled rhetoric, the thread that would bind it together, or the big idea which would set it apart from previous relaunches?
Quite bluntly if Mandy is so great why didn’t we see something of it yesterday? Am I being unfair in beginning to wonder whether his “great gifts” have been somewhat oversold?
Mandy came to prominence, it will be recalled, during the final years of the Major government when Labour was being presented with one open goal after another. Then it was easy – but that’s a long time ago.
Now the world is a bit more challenging and I just wonder whether Mandy is up to it? It’s one thing to keep a disillusioned cabinet on board, like he did on that dreadful first weekend in June, but coming up with a broad plan and big idea that will resonate with voters and help Labour get out of its hole is another.
I was underwhelmed by his appearances yesterday. He couldn’t seem to hack it when interviewers were on the offensive and came over as petulant in the extreme. Am I missing something?
Note: I’m travelling today and this is a post I prepared earlier.