Paul Routledge reveals a new venture for Mandy

Mandy sets the record straight (again), a case of mistaken identity, and Rupert lets it flow

How kind of the BBC to mend its fences with the twice-disgraced ex-minister Peter Mandelson, by inviting him to take part in a lengthy exculpatory documentary. Mandy will star in an episode of Set the Record Straight, a six-part series about public figures who have suffered at the hands of the tabloid press. He has graciously consented to be interviewed about his tribulations, but he should be warned that the film-makers have cast their net rather wider than his immediate entourage in the search for truth. No doubt if they come to the wrong conclusions, the leader's little helper will set the record straight. Again.

To Portcullis House for a TUC reception marking the election of Brendan Barber as general secretary. Brother Barber is something of an arriviste, having worked at Congress House for only 30 years. That must be the explanation for No 10's invitation asking him to come and socialise in Downing Street - which was addressed to Brenda Barber. Maybe they were thinking of stately Lady (Brenda) Dean, the ex-Sogat peeress.

Without any fanfare, Bill O'Brien MP has told his local Labour Party in Normanton, West Yorkshire (my home town), that he is standing down at the next election. Our estimable local paper, the Wakefield Express, is agog with speculation that Ed Balls, economics adviser to Gordon Brown, may inherit the safe seat. His wife, Yvette Cooper, minister in the Lord Chancellor's Department, represents next-door Pontefract and Castleford, and it would be a convenient family arrangement. Quite why the Chancellor needs advice on the economy is a mystery, but he took Egghead Ed from the Financial Times almost eight years ago. Ed invented Brown's catchy little soundbite of "neoclassical endogenous growth theory". If he does win the nomination, Whitehall rules oblige him to leave the Treasury civil service. And where would the five euro tests be then?

Rupert Murdoch has revived his interest in John Barleycorn, report those invited to his seasonal bash at the Taverner's Hall. As he laid down the law for Wapping's coverage of politics in 2003, the Digger did not stint himself on the entertainment front. This was all very well for some guests, such as Nick Wood, media director of the Conservative Party, but not quite so much joy for Alastair Campbell, who has not touched a drop since his mysterious late-night fun run in Glasgow many years ago.

The Channel 4 annual political awards - the last, because they have been flogged, lock, stock and smoking e-mails to the BBC - are almost upon us. Oliver Letwin is a finalist in two categories. Alice Mahon is vying with her fellow Campaign Group MP Alan Simpson for government backbencher's award, though both could be eclipsed by the absurdly industrious Graham Allen. David Lammy is an obvious favourite for rising star, but MPs are tempted to give this award to teacher's pet David Miliband. Chris Grayling, who I thought was a kind of fish, is also in this section, with another Tory, David Cameron. If there is any justice, Book of the Year will be Matthew Parris's Chance Witness. Political journalist category is a parade of the usual suspects, with the exception of Michael Brown, of the Independent, the defeated Tory MP-turned-poacher, who had a magnificent 2002.

Paul Routledge is chief political commentator for the Daily Mirror