Coffee House

Peter Mandelson: Ed Miliband needs more policies and fewer promises

29 May 2014

7:15 AM

29 May 2014

7:15 AM

In his Spectator diary this week Lord Mandelson offers Ed Miliband some advice…

Nigel Farage has no trouble in heaping praise on Putin because of their shared antipathy towards Europe. Farage’s party had a good week. The challenge for them is to build a genuine movement beyond a charismatic leader, a band of fruitcake candidates and a clutch of reactionary ideas.


I doubt they will succeed. In my political career we’ve seen two similar ‘breakthrough’ moments, both in the 1980s: the SDP’s rise and fall, then the Greens coming and going. Those parties’ success was only due to Labour’s weakness. When Labour got its act together, their appeal faded. The same has to happen now, if Labour wants to become more than a minority administration in 2015.

Douglas Alexander, the party’s election chief, said: ‘Labour can win the general election if we take the right steps between now and a year’s time.’ The ‘if’ has to include fewer crowd-pleasing cost-of-living promises and more counter-intuitive policies.

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Show comments
  • Obbs

    I’m a uni undergraduate and I’ve met a lot of people who have started to develop loyalties towards the Greens especially among science community who want the benefits that science brings into our country. Labour are a party of an older generation who, besides gaining a large support of loyal socialists to Labour, are a dying breed. That much is obvious as they try to get the middle ground with their trivial adjustments and short-term solutions. I welcome UKIP’s rise because it shows that instead of having weak policies and a lack of adversarial politics, we have the potential to enter a new age of democracy where people’s views can be more coherently expressed.

  • rtj1211

    Here’s how to win:

    1. Chilcot: publish and be damned (or more to the point, damn Tony Blair to eternity). It will show that you value the rule of law and the safeguarding of democracy more than a slimy old crone who won you three elections.
    2. Guarantee a referendum on the EU: it will show that you believe in democracy rather than your own gravy train of sinecures.
    3. Define an absolute set of criteria to justify going to war, which specifically excludes: ‘the Americans told us to so that’s good enough for me’.
    4. Remove your obsession with destroying ‘Tory brands’ which were actually good policies, just so you can waste billions on consultants conceiving a ‘new Labour brand’ for the same thing. This will help you eliminate about £10bn of waste from the spending bill each and every year.
    5. Build 1 million affordable homes over a 5 year Parliament which can only be occupied, owned or sold to people with British passports, a minimum of 10 years residency in this country. Use the income from this scheme to invest further (i.e. initial pump priming leads subsequently to more sustainable investment over time). This can be done by local councils where suitable or central government where necessary.
    6. Expose your postal vote rigging frauds in the run up to the election, offering up a minimum of 50 deeply corrupt scoundrels on a spike. Do not have any squeamishness if several of them are of African, Asian or Muslim extractions.
    7. Expel all your dirty tricks operators who make Dan Hodges seem like a naive virgin. Destroy them in public and pin the blame entirely on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for creating such an unacceptable, criminal underclass of New Labour Scum.
    6. Demonstrate that you have a rigorous, costed, sustainable, 10 year plan for managing the economy as a sovereign nation state.

    You may find this difficult or impossible to achieve.

    Ah well, you’ll have to stick to tribal nonsense instead and hope to delude enough of them to vote for you.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      5) building companies build houses not governments and you have to make it economically viable for them to do so. Assuming of course, the capacity exists to fulfil this ambitious plan

      6) Ridiculous and the root of all Labour’s failings. We live in a Global economy and a 6 month plan can be torn to shreds by events beyond your control and thus a 10 year plan is ridiculous. A better idea is to create a low tax environment which encourages sustainable enterprises which can then employ people and pay them properly. Minimise government expenditure and thus transfer resources to the productive part of the economy.

  • Picquet

    Why is the Spectator giving this vile creature space to air his opinion? This is a man who, together with his fellow conspirators, tried to destroy our society for his own personal benefit. Hanging’s far too good.

  • saffrin

    Miliband already has a policy, follow blindly and comply with every EU demand.
    Any votes he buys will be with your taxes.

  • Peter Stroud

    Surely, no one in the Labour ranks believes that they elected the right leader. Neither the PLP, or the rank and file wanted Miliband: he was elected by the trade unions. Now is pay back time – a return to Old Labour, plus a bit more Marxism.

    • Kaine

      Yet another person who doesn’t understand how Labour’s electoral college works. Trade unionists and members of socialist societies are affiliated members of the party. Ed won the vote of the entire membership on a OMOV basis by around 27000 votes. The electoral college worked against him, not for him.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        So Trade Union support for Ed Miliband was irrelevant? There we have it, the Labour spin machine in all its utterly dishonest glory.

        • Kaine

          If by ‘trade union support’ you mean support of the membership who happened to be trade unionists then of course it was relevant. The views of the individual trade union officials were meaningless, there hasn’t been a block vote for years.

          Under an OMOV election of the entire membership Ed would have won, with a stonking majority. It was only close because the college gives massive weight to MPs.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Hilarious. It is so funny when leftist people tell their ridiculous lies and even funnier when they lie to themselves.

            • Kaine

              And yet the task of disproving anything I’ve said, which should be so easy if the lies are so ridiculous, is beyond you.

              I know, I know, you don’t have the time to do so, merely the time to post about how funny you find your own jokes.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                No point old boy. You are a socialist nutter and have no conception of truth or reality. In your tiny mind Gordon Brown was fiscally prudent, there was no structural deficit of £168 billion by 2010, Tony Blair didn’t take us into an illegal war in Iraq, 1,200 people didn’t die needlessly at Mid Staffs etc etc. You are just another deluded socialist nutter.

                • Kaine

                  Lots of numbers from a man who can’t bring himself to admit that the fellow who got 175,519 votes beating the fellow who got 147,220 votes is a legitimate result.

                  Nor do you seem to understand what a structural deficit is, nor have you actually read Keogh’s finding about Mid Staffordshire.But you know it must be true because you read it in the Mail…

                  More Labour MPs voted against the war than any other party. Had the Conservatives come out against it we might have not gone into that awful conflict. I wouldn’t shed a tear if Blair ended up in The Hague.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Unbelievable you really are an accomplished dissembler. Gordon Brown did not create a structural deficit – that is priceless. Any more lies to share with the test of us?

                • Kaine

                  Yet again, an inability to read. No wonder you and viceroy’s gin get on so well.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Your a socialist nutter so just give it up.

  • Rillian

    Ed is a complete cretin. He wants to build cities on our greenbelt to house Europe

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Because they will vote Labour and the indigenous population of Britain is irrelevant to him. Indeed, he regards native British people as scum.

  • Gafto

    You know Ed Miliband is in trouble when Mandelson chirps up. You can tell Tony and Mandy are itching to get back in the fray. To be honest, as much as I dislike them, they were always much more effective than Miliband and his team. Mandy and Campbell pulling Tony’s strings were an evil trinity.

  • Kitty MLB

    The dark lord giving Moribund Miliband advice on the
    On resuming their reign of destruction.Regardless of the
    apocalyptic results on the UK..we will all be doomed but
    never mind…you cannot make it up !

  • Makroon

    Trouble is, when Red finally manages to cobble together some “policies”, Mandelson will not like them one bit and will start plotting to change them.
    But that’s probably why he is impatient to get started.

  • alabenn

    Welcome back to the man who will drive the sour faced sandalista`s back to Clegg, if there is one person these spite laced lefties cannot abide it is this man.
    The people who claimed they had got their party back will not take kindly to Mandelson re-entering the fray, so its as well he offered his advice, you will know how desperately bad things are if Miliband ever asks.

  • Graeme S

    Thanks Dark lord ……… Now bugger off to the dung heap you came from

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Uh sorry, they kicked him out of that dung heap. He lowered the moral tone of the place. No self respecting pile of excrement could tolerate his presence.

  • english_pensioner

    Everyone knows that politicians don’t keep promises, even cast iron ones, so it doesn’t really matter how many they make.
    As for policies, I’d rather support a politician with beliefs.

  • gerronwithit

    Well, there’s no-one more fruity than Mandelson, don’t know about the cake bit though. I suppose the Spectator has to give air time to the Establishment in the interests of fairness, but I can assure you if Mandelson, Blair et al had half a chance not only would you have to be very careful about what you say, you would be reading and hearing very selected news courtesy of the Guardian and the BBC alone.

    • Kitty MLB

      I Deplore the Labour party but are others in that Dante’s
      Inferno of the anti voter loathesome ‘establishment’
      Such as ‘evil’ and doomed Tories allowed a voice in the
      interest of fairness. Just let us know, we look to you
      for guidance O wise one.

      • gerronwithit

        I am impressed, you are almost as sarcastic as myself. Actually, what I might have said was that Mandelson is an opportunistic champagne Socialist who would take money from anyone stupid enough to publish his malignant views. I always accept the views of people like Mandelson and Mary Riddell in so called right wing publications as it helps me “to nurse my wrath to keep it warm!”

  • bugshead

    Please remove this viper from any involvement in politics or media

  • RavenRandom

    Labour polices:
    1. Import voters.
    2. Make sure over 50% of the population gets some form of government hand out… either give them back their own money (tax credit) or give them our grandchildren’s money (borrow).
    Keep going until bankrupt.

    • Shazza

      3. Race replacement policy to ensure grateful third world immigrants continue to vote Labour.
      4. Introduce draconian laws to curtail freedom of speech.
      5. Deliberately dumb down education via schooling, media and institutional bias to ensure Marxist brainwashing.
      6. Destroy traditional family life.
      7. Destroy British culture and achievements by re-writing history to reflect ‘White guilt’.
      8. Make sure all policies are designed to keep Labour in power regardless of the health/wealth/happiness of the electorate.

      • rtj1211

        It’s entirely right that the British getting rich on the Slave Trade should be condemned as evil and disgusting.

        Would you fancy trying it out to prove that ‘it really wasn’t so bad’??

    • Colonel Mustard

      They are also masterminding a plan to abolish trial by jury and set up inquisitorial courts for s*xual cases. The new DPP Saunders appears to be continuing Starmer’s politicisation work of turning the CPS into the prosecution wing of the Labour party. It is shameful that a supposedly Conservative government let that man, who is now leading Miliband’s Labour party “victims taskforce” (no doubt beyond authority) which promises a “radical shake-up in the justice system”, undermine impartial justice in the name of cultural revolution by stealth.

      The emphasis on “victims” before a complaint is even proven is prejudice in the very meaning of that word. But hardly a word is raised in protest at this gross distortion of the fundamental principle of innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Britain is falling into the abyss.

      • Kennybhoy

        Wholeheartedly agree. But the attack on presumption of innocence pre-dates New Labour by a couple of decades and has many supporters on the right of centre. Since at least the 1980s there has been an unholy alliance between traditional conservative “law & order” types and, mainly feminist, left-liberals.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Agreed. The idea that justice should be measured by the number of successful convictions wherever the offence is the emotive focus of pressure groups is always dangerous. But that, and the politicisation of the CPS, accelerated under Starmer (a creature of the Labour party and far from being an impartial public servant) and New Labour.

          It must have been the Conservative tendency you mention that allowed him to continue his damaging work under the Coalition government.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Again, sadly, right on the money Colonel.

  • swatnan

    Mandy reminds me of the Wartime Spiv, who sidles up to you, and exposes his of policies discretely hidden under his raincoat. On reflection, it is about Policies, but its also about Credibility.

  • an ex-tory voter

    I wonder if he would be kind enough to have a word in Dave’s ear as well.

  • anyfool

    Nigel Farage has no trouble in heaping praise on Putin because of their shared antipathy towards Europe
    Mandelsons first line is straight down to business as usual, lies, you would be hard pushed to find a more sorry example of what is wrong with the Labour party, unless of course Blair is still a member.

  • wycombewanderer

    I was expecting an article but it seems to be a headline followed by a quote from someone else!

    The diary mentioned is a restaurant review!

  • The PrangWizard of England

    Who wrote the headline? ‘Fewer’ promises perhaps? Certainly we could all do with a lot less of Mandelson. Depressing to find he is creeping out from under his stone. Miliband must be thought to be in deep, deep trouble.

    • The PrangWizard of England

      Just for the record, when I posted the above comment, the headline was ‘less’ promises. Glad to see it’s been corrected.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Labour seem to have managed to create a bogus movement from an uncharismatic leader, a band of fruitcake candidates and a clutch of barmy ideas. Go figure.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The entirety of LibLabCon would fit that description.

  • @PhilKean1

    (1) – Buying the votes of the unprincipled and politically ignorant costs money.

    (2) – This money has to come from tax revenues.

    (3) – But, in penalising British businesses by forcing them to grant excessive employee rights and higher wages, Labour’s irresponsible vote-buying results in less productivity, fewer jobs, more imports and less tax revenues – meaning that taxes have to rise and the Labour-instigated economic death-spiral that is a hallmark of their maladministration is perpetuated.

    • Kaine

      The people on £6.50 an hour and zero-hours contracts are truly living the life of Riley aren’t they?

      Typical drivel from a member of the baby boomer generation who, having grown fat on the benefits of social democracy, now wish to torch it before they slough off this mortal coil.

      • @PhilKean1

        You know nothing about me. Yet I know plenty about you by your selfish, outdated and short-sighted rhetoric.

        I have worked by backside off all my life. I have never taken a penny from the state and have always lived within my means. My household has paid a fortune in tax and and we didn’t live beyond our means during Labour’s 13 years of maladministration and then start crying about how skint and hard-done-by we are.

        Now, in the grand tradition of Labour voters, your limited intellect fails to understand – or care – that forcing companies to pay more than they can afford either bankrupts them, or closes them and forces them to Asia.
        Now, instead of living in your Socialist fantasy land, why don’t you consider that it would be better to have lots of companies employing people on wages they can afford to pay, instead of having hundreds of thousands of unskilled, inexperienced and poorly-educated people sitting at home on JSA.

        Now, we could set up a Government agency to assist and nudge those low-paid workers – (who’re gaining valuable experience) – into better paid jobs in order to improve their lot. No low wage earner would be left to settle for low pay.

        The advantage for the country, yes, the country, is that it would reduce imports, increase taxes, lower the benefits bill and keep youngsters off the streets and out of trouble.

        • rtj1211

          You haven’t answer the point about £6.50 an hour.

          If you think that starving people to death is the acceptable price for business, then you starve your children.

          Go on: you’ll soon learn the hard way how inhuman it is.

          What’s important to you is how much you earn. Nothing more, nothing less.

          Well: in societies, leaders have to think about more than you, you, you.

          • @PhilKean1

            Really pathetic.

            Hysteria blinding you to the argument in my comment.

            Even more moronically biassed against rational argument than the first questioner.

            Go have have a drink at your local Labour club and you’ll get a sympathetic hearing from like-minded people.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            It is all very well parading your emotions and moral superiority but economic realities are remorseless and cannot be changed by legislation. By your logic, if we were to increase the minimum wage to £100 an hour, nobody would be poor and we would all live happily ever after. The reality of course is that businesses would either go into liquidation or shed workers by the hundreds of thousands. Taxes would have to rise to pay for all those public sector workers on the new minimum wage and economic activity would grind to a halt. Who would suffer the most? It would of course be the poorest members of society who you and your fellow travellers of the left pretend to care about. The truth is you and the rest of the left care nothing for these people and just want to cloak your hatred of the successful with a veneer of pity for the vulnerable. Encouraging an environment where business can succeed will do more to help the poor than any amount of pious and misguided government intervention.

        • Kaine

          I know rather a lot about you from our previous clashes Phil. I know your father abandoned your mother and left you in poverty, I know she claimed child benefit for you.

          Without the welfare state you would have starved to death as a child. You owe it your life.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “The challenge for them is to build a genuine movement beyond a charismatic leader, a band of fruitcake candidates and a clutch of reactionary ideas.”

    Wake up and smell Liam Byrne’s taxpayer funded cappuccino Mandelslime, UKIP is already a genuine movement, warts and all. It exists and people are voting for it in increasing numbers. The smears of you and your comrades are only pandering to the prejudices of you and your comrades. The rest of us are not listening any more.
    Perhaps it escaped that malignant and devious brain of yours that 24 UKIP MEPS were elected a few days ago?

    When it comes to UKIP and the Labour Party the S*x Pistols summed it up nicely:-

    “I bet you don’t hate us as much as we hate you!”

    • rtj1211

      ‘It was on the Good Ship Venus
      By Christ you should have seen us
      The Miliband was a bore in bed
      And the Balls a giant penis!!’

      The Captain of that Lugger
      He was a Dirty Bugger
      He taxed and Stole
      And sold his Soul
      To USA’s Big Brother!

      Would you say that that summed up your vitriol, your play the man tactics and your general antipathy to all things Labour??

      • Inverted Meniscus

        I think that a £168 billion structural deficit, a 7.4% contraction of the economy, 1,200 needless deaths at one hospital alone, an illegal war that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, a general determination to stifle contrary opinion, massive electoral fraud through postal voting, devaluation of educational qualifications, endless political correctness, lying about real term increases in defence spending, government hamstrung by internecine warfare between two lunatic factions, accusations of racism when anybody questions Labour’s immigration policy, promoting mass immigration without consulting the British public, the first banking failures for 145 years due to an incompetent regulatory regime and countless other misdeeds. These might go someway to explaining the Colonel’s antipathy towards the Labour Party.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “These might go someway to explaining the Colonel’s antipathy towards the Labour Party.”

          It is also a lifetime experience of actually living under the yoke of 9 Labour governments and witnessing the accumulated consequences of their variously directed but consistent folly. And of watching the shallow fools who clamour for them, generation after generation, without an iota of learning from the past or their failure. It is like being forced to witness endless acts of crime upon the same victim for which there is no retribution and no justice.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Ditto. Apologies for seeming to speak for you but for the reasons you have outlined, I feel compelled to confront these apologists for the verminous Labour party whenever and wherever possible. Like you however, I suspect, my feeling is that the rot can only be slowed and is past curing. They have infected every area of British life which once made this country special. Primarily, our freedom to expressa contrary opinions.

      • Colonel Mustard

        No. But it will be interesting to see if you direct your ‘play the man’ criticism at the Labour troll here who regularly vents his ad hominem spleen against Gove and Hunt and Osborne.

        I doubt it because whereas I write contemptuously about politicians and especially the unelected who set themselves over us, you focus your dislike on another commentator, singling him out for a bit of stalking and vulgarity. And is your whole comment not ‘playing the man’ against me, you hypocrite?

        My antipathy for all things Labour? Yes indeed. Why not? How is that any less acceptable than the antipathy for all things Tory, or all things UKIP? You wrote quite recently:-

        “Don’t worry, I’m equally as scathing about those on the Left.”

        Curiously I cannot seem to find any such scathery from you. Are you one of those who boasts sanctimoniously about your impartiality in the hope of increasing the effectiveness of your attacks against conservatives?

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Yes he is.

  • Epimenides

    Do we really need to read about this man’s opinion in the Spectator? I could not care less about anything he says or about Miliband’s problems.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Your comment is top so expect a visit from the lurking troll with some cretinous Labour hagiography and boasting once he is sure it will remain so.

      • Epimenides

        Usually it is telemarxist that pollutes these blogs.

      • rtj1211

        And the Guardianistas will say exactly the same as Epimenides about your heroes.

        You see, your heroes aren’t universal heroes, so it might be a good idea for you all to be exposed to alternative viewpoints.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Who are my heroes, oh great one?

          I doubt very much that you will find me engaging in hagiography, nostalgia maybe. And certainly not hagiography of the telemachean kind.

    • Makroon

      Probably because the Guardian and New Statesman declined his kind offer of ‘advice for Red’ ?

  • RBcritique

    Could someone pull the chain ?

  • Bluesman_1

    A liar writes.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Agreed. Shame we can’t recycle pixels.