Editorial: PR physician, heal thyself

Minister without Portfolio Peter Mandelson’s failure to beat Ken Livingstone to Labour’s National Executive Committee provoked some predictable reactions.

Minister without Portfolio Peter Mandelson’s failure to beat Ken

Livingstone to Labour’s National Executive Committee provoked some

predictable reactions.



The left portrayed it as a warning shot for the Prime Minister and a rap

over the knuckles for the ’men in the dark’, while the Blairite tendency

saw it as a dying spasm of old Labour, and a mere stumble in Mandelson’s

upward march. Others have simply enjoyed the spectacle of the master

fixer coming unstuck.



But there is another explanation. Political PR master that he is,

Mandelson is prey to the same condition that afflicts many brilliant

people in the public relations business - they give excellent advice to

other people, but have an inability to follow the same advice

themselves.



His performance during Tony Blair’s holiday was a PR disaster. It gave

the impression that he was grabbing at the levers of power without any

particular mandate to do so. If it had been another politician whom

Mandelson had been advising, he would never have allowed it to

happen.



It sounds barmy, but perhaps what he really needs is his own PR

adviser.



But who’d be brave enough to take on the job?



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