Peter ‘Dodgy’ Mandelson’s increasingly bitter and nasty attacks on George Osborne are entirely off script: the timing of his comment that Osborne’s claiming of ‘progressive’ for the conservatives, right at the end of his Today interview with Evan Davis betrays an edge to his commentary we should keep an eye on. The Prince of Darkness is not infallible, as his many sackings show. We’ll get him.
Andy Burnham is also firing well above his calibre, and really does seem to labour under delusions of competence.
In what should be a summer show of dominance by the Conservatives in the run up to Party Conference season, we’re in a bizarre and recently unfamiliar rearguard, with one forced and one unforced error: Alan Duncan needs to be sidelined, perhaps inserted as Party Co-Chairman alongside Eric Pickles, maybe released to spend time securing his now under-threat constituency. He is quite brilliant, but he’s not the youthful modernising interesting breath of fresh air he was. We need someone in that role.
Dan Hannan was always going to be followed by Labour media managers since he publicly eviscerated Gordon Brown at the European Parliament. Brown was systematically dismantled by Hannan in a bravura performance that left the Prime Minister reeling as never before. But Hannan’s outspokenness would always, so long as he attacked things and not the incompetence of people, be a hostage to fortune.
Before the Summer, Gordon Brown was clearly insane, or at least too stressed to function. We need a show of force now to dismantle Mandy, and show that our man isn’t Cuckoo.