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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of a spin doctor, 26 July 2010
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This review is from: The Third Man (Hardcover)
After a brief Introduction, in which Mandelson blames a lot of his troubles on his loyalty to Brown and Blair, and lists the familiar claims of New Labour's achievements, there are background chapters on his early years as a member of a privileged left-wing family in North London. But the book takes off with his initiation into politics and the start of his controversial career as a highly successful backroom `fixer'. Right from the start, it is clear that Mandelson is out to stake his claim of parity with Brown and Blair in creating New Labour, defining its policies, and steering it to election victories. He emphasizes that that he `discovered' the duo and was the first to recognize their talents and potential for high office. The three of them became `brothers'. This didn't last long after New Labour gained power and we now know about the fierce and corrosive war that was waged between Blair and Brown, with Mandelson often in the latter's sights for his perceived `betrayal' in supporting Blair. This is discussed fully, but most of the details have already appeared in Andrew Rawnsley's recent book `The End of the Party'.

Given that the author was the supreme `spin doctor' of New Labour, a reader has to decide how much of this book to believe. Many details confirm what Rawnsley has reported, although Mandelson's version puts himself in the best light. However, there are places where he is disingenuous. For example: his strong denial that there was any connection between the peerage given to Lord Levy and the fact that he was Tony Blair's fundraiser, while admitting that Levy `held out for a peerage' after he was told it would be too soon; and his explanation of why he failed to disclose to either his senior civil servant or a building society a loan from Geoffrey Robinson to buy a house. There are new details about the about the final days of New Labour and events leading up to the 2010 General Election - how Brown refused to budge from his entrenched position that growth was the only way out of the severe economic problems and how he resisted all efforts from his colleagues to take seriously spending cuts or an increase in VAT - but this is a small part of the book.

Then there is what is not in the book. There is very little about foreign policy and Iraq, the event that, rightly or wrongly, will really be Blair's legacy, and no discussion of whether New Labour's economic and financial policies might have contributed to our present debt-ridden state. And of course there is almost nothing about Mandelson's closely guarded private life. To be fair, the sub-title of the book is `Life at the Heart of New Labour', but then why include chapters on his early family life, and why disclose very personal information about a former partner's sex life?

Overall, I found this a disappointing book that adds very little to what is already known about the New Labour years and the style lacks the sparkle of Rawnsley's book. The Labour Party may now `love Peter Mandelson', as Blair wanted and Mandelson believes, but it has not altered my view that the 'Prince of Darkness' has not changed.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Sep 2010 22:50:10 BDT
no one says:
Cracking review,pretty much, as I thought the book would reveal.Have to say dislike the man but clearly he knows his job, and on that basis I guess its a must read.
Just not sure which to buy first Blairs Journey,or Maneldsons third man,cant wait for Gordons offering.
Any tips?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2011 14:44:36 BDT
Great title to the Book Lord Mandy.
The author Mandy has used the title of a 1949 movie starring Orson Welles whose character Harry Lime is a greedy thief (and a liar) who makes a living by selling drugs on the black market. Funny that Lord Mandelson should use the same title- The Third Man.

Regarding making a living, here is what the main character says : "If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot (person) that died , would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax - the only way you can save money nowadays."

Posted on 7 Jun 2012 12:23:14 BDT
Interesting review. I like the way you focus on the superficial aspects of Lord Mandy and the Labour party. For example you focus on bickering between Blair and Brown and Mandy.

Tis strange the way Lord Mandy fails to mention any of the following in 'The Third Man'--Saif Gaddafi (Col Gaddafi's son) sits at the centre of a remarkable social web that has ensnared both Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson.
The men are bound together by their interests in Libyan business and their friendship with the multi-billionaire financiers of the Rothschild family.
Lord Mandelson once remarked that he was 'intensely relaxed' about extreme wealth, a position he has justified ever since. It was only natural that he should share an interest in networking and wealth with one of the world's oldest banking families.
But even the Rothschilds have probably never described him as a 'killer of a man'.
That was Saif Gaddafi's take on the former Business Secretary. After Labour's election defeat, Mr Gaddafi said: 'It's bad news for the UK that he left because he is a killer of a man. It's a loss for the UK.'
The two men met summer 2009 at the secluded cliff top mansion compound of the Rothschild family on the holiday island of Corfu. Oh and their stays overlapped by one night and came only a week before the announcement-that the perpetrator of the Lockerbie bombing could be released from prison.

They 'fleetingly' discussed the fate of the bomber Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi but Lord Mandelson's spokesman said he was ' completely unsighted' on the impending release.
November 2009, Lord Mandelson spent more time in the company of Saif during a shooting weekend at Waddesdon Manor, Lord Rothschild's mini-Versailles in Buckinghamshire.
Recently, the former business secretary was seen zipping around the Swiss ski resort of Klosters in Nat Rothschild's Ferrari Daytona.

Years ago Lord Mandy also hired a Brazilian witch doctor to cast a spell on charlie Whelan. No joke. Google it.

Recently Mandy( in the role of the British Business Secretary) had sinister motives for backing the Lisbon treaty.
He knew Labour were kaput in 2007. He saw that all of the key powers were transferred to Brussels (EU) in the Lisbon Treaty (signed by Milliband), so he has castrated the sovereign capability of a future Conservative government by having already handed over key powers to Brussels (EU)

In recent years The Sunday Times revealed how Mandelson had accepted hospitality on Oleg Deripaska's (a nice man who is banned from the USA) yacht, the Queen K, in Corfu (a statement which was initially denied by Lord Mandy).

Then in a letter to The Times, Mandelson admitted he had known Deripaska (Russian Oligarch worth £28 billion) since 2004, despite previously suggesting they had first met in 2006.

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP, said: "Mandelson must publish all details of his meetings and make it clear where they took place and what the hospitality was. There is a vast difference between meeting someone at an office in Brussels and eating canapés and drinking champagne on an oligarch's yacht."

"It is clearly not wise for an EU trade commissioner or British minister to be associating with someone who is banned from the US."

Mandy changed tariffs on dumping Aluminium in the Eu (Mandy was EU Trade comissioner) and as a result Deripaska made an absolute fortune. Nice one Mandy.

"It is clearly not wise for an EU trade commissioner or British minister to be associating with someone who is banned from the US."

Mandy changed tariffs on dumping Aluminium in the Eu (Mandy was EU Trade comissioner) and as a result Deripaska made an absolute fortune. Nice one Mandy...
Lord mandy recently purchased a mansion in London for 8 million GBP.
Ha ha...........
£8,000,000
Ha ha,,,,,

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jun 2012 17:17:57 BDT
You obviously have all the inside stories on Mandelson, but I am not sure what this has to do with my review of his book.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Brian R. Martin
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: London, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 477