Mandelson denounces "quasi-state funeral" for Thatcher

"Mrs T is not Churchill," the former Labour minister says, declaring that he would have "recommended against" a ceremonial funeral.

Peter Mandelson, who once declared "we are all Thatcherites now", struck a discordant note at tonight's Policy Exchange event on the former prime minister's legacy when he denounced tomorrow's "quasi-state funeral" and said he "would have recommended against it." Appearing alongside Michael Gove and Charles Moore, he added: "Mrs T is not Churchill". Given the role of the last Labour government in drawing up the funeral arrangements some will reasonably ask whether Mandelson expressed his dissent at the time.

In a vivid turn of phrase, he also remarked that while her three election victories helped bring Labour "to its senses" in the 1980s, the party "over-inhaled" on Thatcherism. "Ministers and markets can mix more than she would allow," he said, a reminder of the more interventionist approach he adopted as Business Secretary after his 2008 return. He added that "it fell to Tony Blair to keep what was right and repair what was wrong", to which Gove countered that had it not been for Thatcher's defeat of Arthur Scargill and the NUM, Blair and Mandelson would never have been elected.

Peter Mandelson said he "would have recommended against" a ceremonial funeral for Margaret Thatcher. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland