Left Watch

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Mandelson's autobiography to be called 'The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour'

Writing for today's Times Lord Mandelson previews his forthcoming autobiography, humbly called The Third Man.

In the article he regrets that Brown and Blair did not fight each other for the Labour leadership in 1994:

"After John Smith died I was mistaken in arguing so hard that the two modernising candidates should not oppose each other. I did so from the best motives. I did not want two friends to hurt each other. I did not want the modernisers’ cause damaged with the risk that a split vote might let in someone else. But if we had resolved the matter there and then, we would have avoided so much of the soap opera that followed."

Although he accepts that the term 'New Labour' may not be used again, he argues that the principles behind it must live on:

"It is, and was, a logical flow from the revisionist, social democratic tradition in our party — the tradition that applies the timeless values of our party afresh to new times; that believes the Left should concentrate on the ends — a strong economy, social justice and high-quality public services — but should always be willing to consider new means of achieving those ends. It is about Labour not being a party of class or sectional interest, but about being a broad-based party of conscience and reform. An outlook that remains in tune with the priorities and ambitions of families across the country. Open, not tribal. Pluralist, not statist. But it is also a mindset that is, above all, governmental. Which recognises that democratic power is the only route to implementing our values, and that very difficult policy choices — such as those raised by the deficit — cannot be ducked."

Read the full piece.

Tim Montgomerie