Could my 200/1 bet come good?
He’s everywhere and seems to be involved in everything and there’s little doubt that the big winner of the Brown leadership wobble was Peter Mandelson. (To save pressure on the server I won’t itemise his full titles!)
It was his calm intervention, of course, in the hours after James Purnell resigned that calmed Labour down and controlled the nature of the crisis. Quite what he said (and promised?) to the key players late on the night of June 4th will be examined and written about for years to come but there’s no question about the outcome – Mandy steadied the ship and contained the revolt.
For this he’s been rewarded with being given more power by the wounded Brown than just about any other cabinet minister before him. Essentially Mandy now appears to control almost everything and there’s even a suggestion that he’ll set up his own house of Lords version of PMQs – which conveniently could be called Peter Mandelson Questions.
But does the man who twice lost his cabinet place under Blair secretly harbour the top job and if so could he get it?
His big problem is that he’s a life peer and in recent times PMs have always been MPs. The last time a peer came close to getting the top job was in the dark days of May 1940 when Lord Halifax was the alternative to Churchill. Douglas-Home, of course, renounced his peerage in 1963 when he became PM after Harold Macmillian resigned.
According to an interesting piece by the Telegraph’s Philip Johnston there is no provision for Life Peers to give up their titles and the bar on being an MP although an exception was created for an MEP.
It looks as though the problems are insurmountable – but that’s not going to put Mandy off if he sets his heart on it.
Over the Christmas holiday I got a tenner of Mandy being PM on December 31st 2009 at 200/1. You never know – that could still be a winner.