Whelan on Miliband, Mandelson and election defeat
“All they were interested in was getting Miliband in,” says former spin doctor. “I was sickened.”
Today's Daily Mail has what it claims is the first major newspaper interview with Charlie Whelan since Labour came to power in 1997. Whether that's hyping things a little or not, the joint interviewers, Andrew Pierce and Amanda Platell, appear to have got what they were after from the outspoken Whelan.
Here are some of the "highlights" for those of you yet to get down to the newsagent's . . .
On Peter Mandelson and the 2010 election campaign
Peter claims he is a great strategist and campaigner. In truth, the great campaigner was Gordon Brown, who masterminded the 1997, 2001 and 2005 victories. Peter ran two campaigns: 1987 and 2010.
I'd been to America to the Democrat Convention and had seen how Obama had revolutionised the way you use modern media. Peter was stuck in the past.
He was meant to be the conductor of the orchestra, but he wanted to be up front blowing his own trumpet.
On David Miliband and the plots against Gordon Brown
At the time, there were genuine leadership challenges which made us less and less electable. The first rule of politics is that the public do not like divided parties.
[Although he won't identify him, it is obvious Whelan thinks David Miliband was central to the plot. When we suggest the former foreign secretary's name, Whelan shrugs and says:]
You don't need to be a genius to work that out.
On the "defeatist" Blairites
HQ was full of Blairites. Their heart wasn't in it. They didn't think they could win it, and they didn't have any interest in Gordon. They were waiting to lose. All they were interested in was getting Miliband in. I was sickened.
So far, Whelan, an active tweeter, has yet to comment on the Mail's splash.