Political gossip

Just heard Mandelson being interviewed on the Today programme on Radio 4. As a self confessed political junkie, I can’t help feeling it’s all a bit like that story about the scorpion and the frog – the river is raging, but the scorpion wants to get to the other side. The frog takes pity on him and offers to carry him over on his back. ‘But don’t sting me’ he says. The scorpion promises he won’t and climbs on the frog’s back. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. As they both sink into the waves, the frog asks plaintively ‘Why did you do that?’ – ‘Because I can’ said the scorpion.

When I was working in London in the mid ‘90s, I was putting together a major project which necessitated building networks right up into Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet levels. As we neared the ’97 election, the word of the cognoscenti was that Blair was very bright, very personable and an effective front for the Labour party. The thing that everyone despaired of was his judgement of people…………………….

One of the real horrors of this book is that Charlie Whelan, who seems to come from exactly the same poisonous well but without the apparent veneer of sophistication of Mandelson, is given so much airtime to claim the moral high ground – who’d ever have thought that the words ‘charlie whelan’ and ‘moral high ground’ would appear in the same sentence?