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What the papers say: Why we’ve ‘had enough’ of Lord Mandelson

20 February 2017

8:27 AM

20 February 2017

8:27 AM

After Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell returned to urge a revolt against Brexit, only one thing was missing: Peter Mandelson, who turned up on Andrew Marr’s sofa yesterday. Ever on-message, he repeated Blair’s line that the 52 per cent of the country who backed Brexit ‘had no idea of the terms on which the government would decide to leave the EU’. So is the ‘prince of darkness’ simply up to his old tricks? Mandelson’s intervention certainly hasn’t earned him a warm reception in the newspaper editorials this morning. The Sun describes Mandelson as ‘disgraced’ and says the peer’s ‘contempt for democracy’ was the exact reason thatled to the demand for Brexit’ in the first place. Mandelson said that ‘only ’36pc of the public voted to leave’. But the Sun is at pains to remind him why his numbers are well out. After all, ‘more people voted for Brexit than have ever voted for anything in British history’. It seems even this isn’t enough for the likes of Mandelson and his former boss Blair though, who think voters who had their say last June are simply ‘too stupid’ to realise what they have done. One thing is clear the paper says: Britain has ‘had enough’ of ‘unelected Eurofanatics’ trying to lay down the law.

It’s a similarly frosty reception for Mandelson in the Daily Telegraph, with the paper accusing the ‘luminaries of New Labour’ ignoring lessons from history about listening to voters. The paper says there are many words it could use to describe Mandelson. One of the more polite ones it picks is ‘incorrigible’ – a word, the paper says, that sums up his inability to change. Mandelson’s rallying call for Remain voters to ‘rise up’ looks ‘delusional’, the Telegraph argues. The Labour peer – as well as Blair – are also in danger of forgetting a simple truth: it was their government which ‘pushed Britain towards the exit’ in the first place. There are lots of ways of interpreting the vote for Brexit. But one of the clearest messages sent out by voters was a straightforward and ‘empathic’ rejection of Blair’s ‘entire way of doing politics’. If Blair’s ‘dwindling band of followers’ do try and block Brexit, it’ll not only show ‘they have learnt nothing’. Such a move would also ‘be irresponsible, risking real public anger’ the Telegraph concludes.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s replacement as Met Commissioner is set to be announced this week. But what legacy will the departing boss of Britain’s biggest police force leave behind? His record ‘is not all bad’, says the Times: crime has fallen, the Olympics ‘passed off safely’ and he’s served the duration in a post in which ‘others have fallen after short periods’. Yet there are reasons why we shouldn’t look kindly on Hogan-Howe’s time in charge. Take Operation Midland — ‘the great VIP paedophile scare’ – or the botched Operation Elveden, which looked into payments made by journalists to public officials and secured few convictions despite costing £15m. Operations such as these – as well as his ‘reputation for prickliness in the face of criticism’ – add up to a character who ’defended the indefensible until such defence was no longer tenable’. The Times says he also ’withheld apologies from those owed them’, and ‘encouraged among his officers something of a return to secrecy and unaccountable arrogance’. Despite this negative verdict of Hogan-Howe’s time in charge, the Times is optimistic his successor can change things for the better though. ‘What the Met needs now is a leader…whose attitude towards accountability is to open the doors to scrutiny, not to close them,’ the Times concludes.


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