Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Mandelson "took his medicine like a man" from Brown?

Discussions about Gordon Brown and his alleged temper have been reverberating around the political sphere in the last day or so triggered by extracts from Andrew Rawnsley's latest book being published in the Observer today.

Lord Mandelson was on the Andrew Marr show earlier today doing his bit and batting for his boss. He did his best to try and belittle the revelations and was spinning that it is good to have a passionate and driven person in No 10.

But then Marr asked him specifically if he had ever been hit by Brown. I was expecting a straightforward denial but instead he refused to deny it, said something about it being no secret that they have had their moments and that he (Mandelson) "took his medicine like a man". Is this an admission that Brown did indeed hit Mandelson at some point? If not then why did Mandelson, who always thinks very carefully about how he parses his statements not just say so?

It seems an odd way to try and dampen down the story to me.


Barendina Smedley said...

I wonder whether Mandelson doesn't have a problem with this whole subject-area, since e.g. Campbell's diaries suggest Mandelson himself can get quite physical in arguments? As, for that matter, can Coulson. Might that explain a general disinclination to cast the first stone?

Unknown said...

I haven't seen the interview yet. As you know I was still in bed, but at least decent, unlike some:-).

One of the things that allows a bullying culture to grow is the sort of assumption that if you can't handle a bit of abuse, then there must be something wrong with you. From what you report, that seems to be what Mandelson is saying and that's not a good sign.

I'm a great believer in that if you provide a good environment for your employees and team and treat them well, they'll perform a lot better for you. That doesn't mean that work will always be an easy ride, of course not, but building strong bonds in a team is paramount to success.

lizw said...

I feel quite sickened knowing that Mandelson said that. "Take your medicine" is exactly the kind of rhetoric that's been used to legitimate male violence (against girls/women and against lower-status men/boys) for far too long. Mandelson and Brown are rapidly becoming people I wouldn't want to expose my children to - my sons need to know that this kind of behaviour is not okay, and they and my daughter need to know that they don't have to take it from others, too.

Linda Jack said...

Totally agree with Caron and Liz. I have heard similar descriptions of Brown and a couple of other Labour ministers. I also found it an extraordinary response from Mr M.

Letters From A Tory said...

I doubt Brown has ever hit Mandelson, but Mandy knew that if he allowed Marr to get too close to the truth (possibly threatening behaviour?) then he would be in trouble.

Unknown said...

The elaborate answer that didn't commit one way or the other certainly threw Marr off track.

Who knows whether Marr was being bright by not pursuing it further, therefore not allowing Mandelson to get his "no" in which he would have had to do if pushed.

Much better for fuelling speculation.