Peter Mandelson has revealed that his memoirs will be published this summer.
The “Dark Lord” is no stranger to controversy (yacht in Corfu, anyone?), or, as one of the original spin doctors, to drumming up excitement. Writing in the Times, he promises that the book will “ruffle some feathers”:
The book contains a mixture of history, autobiography and emotion. It will be my story of a life played out in the back room, then on the front line of the Labour Party, and in our unprecedented three terms in government. It tells it as I saw it, working off the detailed notes, papers and diaries that I kept throughout my career. Inevitably, much of the story centres around the defining political relationships of my life — those with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But it will also offer some of the lessons I take from our period in government and in building New Labour that I hope others will be able to learn from. It will no doubt ruffle some feathers but if it didn’t it wouldn’t tell the story of what new Labour achieved in government, where and why it didn’t achieve everything that we hoped for and what it can accomplish in the future.
Mandelson might emphasise the book’s potential as a tract for future Labour leaders wishing to continue the modernising project, but he is well aware that all eyes will be on the details of those defining relationships. As a taster, he describes his regrets at persuading Brown not to run against Blair in 1994.
He also expresses his gratitude to Brown — the man whom he once said could be “an enemy for life” — for bringing him back into government, and reveals that he started work on the memoirs while working as Britain’s European commissioner in Brussels.
It is no surprise that Mandelson — a man with as many scandals to his name as comebacks — is to publish a book, though it is perhaps unexpected that it comes so soon after Labour returned to opposition. The book is called The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour, a marked improvement on Tony Blair’s mock-epic sounding The Journey, also due this year.
Mandelson will pip Blair to the post to become the first of the three men at the centre of New Labour to publish an account of their time in power. We wait with bated breath.