OPINION: Overrated Mandelson was too arrogrant

Overrated Mandelson was too arrogant There is much speculation in the media about what Peter Mandelson will do next. He actually doesn't have to do anything as he could probably sell the rights to his book for more than a million pounds, which even with his lavish lifestyle should be enough to live on.

Overrated Mandelson was too arrogant There is much speculation in the media about what Peter Mandelson will do next. He actually doesn't have to do anything as he could probably sell the rights to his book for more than a million pounds, which even with his lavish lifestyle should be enough to live on.

Many have suggested that he could go into PR. If I were running a PR company I would think twice about employing him. If he can't even get himself out of trouble, what hope would he have helping anyone else?

It is often claimed that Peter Mandelson is a great manipulator of the media, yet all the evidence is that he was hopeless at it. That is not to say that he did not understand about election tactics. I know he was good at that because he sat next to me during the last election campaign.

But twice now Mandelson has been brought down following a vicious media assault. When he failed to tell anyone about his pounds 375,000 home loan from Geoffrey Robinson he toured the TV studios thinking he could talk his way out of it. The next day's newspapers were brutal and sealed his fate, forcing him to resign. You would have thought he had learnt his lesson, but he hadn't.

This time round he was even worse in his handling of the media. By his own admission he decided to embark on a series of TV interviews without having properly worked out his line.

It was his contradiction of the briefing given by the Prime Minister's press secretary, Alastair Campbell, that led to his downfall. I watched all these interviews in the parliamentary press gallery bar with other hacks and it was only then that they began to speculate that he might have to go.

For years Mandelson has used his bullying tactics to get his way with the media. The problem is he was left with hardly any friends except a few journalists working for broadsheet newspapers with little or no influence. He was also far too arrogant when dealing with the media and frequently broke the law that says it is always best to get all the facts of a case out in the open.

It was Mandelson who argued against Alastair Campbell that all the details of the Ecclestone pounds 1m donation should be given to the press, with consequently disastrous results. In the latest scandal, if he had been open and honest with The Observer when it first enquired about his links with the Hinduja brothers, then he would still be in his job.

Mandelson lost his job not because of what he had done but because he tried to cover up the facts. It is all the more surprising then that Mandelson has been so successful in persuading journalists to write that he was the man responsible for winning Labour the last election, despite the fact it was Gordon Brown who was in charge of the overall strategy.



Bernard Ingham returns next week.



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