Who do they think they are?
Photo: Niccolo Machiavelli, esquire.com
Photo: Peter Mandelson, labourlist.org
Photo: Godfather poster, londonpatriot.org
Photo: Il Principe, trueknowledge.com
Mandelson has marked history by being adviser to the twin heads of the New Labour Party, though he would prefer the term 'architect'. Temperamentally he may be an eminence rouge but functionally he has never risen above eminence grise. As with most advisers, he would never accept advice even from me. Much about him is a contradiction. In the pond of British politics he has been able to grasp power with his tongue, as a frog might latch onto insects. Absolute power, however, has been beyond his swallow. He can manoeuvre like a Prince, embrace deceit with lustful immorality, seize elusive chance in the name of realism and aspire to being both loved and feared. He can exude the rebarbative grandiosity of a ruler but he is too vulnerable to contempt to exercise it effectively. He has the speed of thought but not the depth to be either another Machiavelli or truly Machiavellian in his actions.
His words are diary entries not political thought. There is no insight into any of the Labour leadership or any assessment of their fitness to be prime minister. He cannot say what Labour should do in the face of this coalition government. He builds pyramids of sand out of what he has 'achieved' in the past without lighting any beacons to the future.
As I once was, he has now been cast into the political wilderness, blamed directly for David Miliband's failure to win the Labour party leadership. His hardships are butterfly slaps against the trials I faced. Cameron is not a Medici any more than Brown was as fallible as Soderini. Cameron will not hang him from wrists bound behind his back until his shoulders are like Catherine wheels. He has bought too many rich friends to be aghast at the spectre of poverty. Mandelson lacks the need that drove me to write The Prince and my Discourses, and the talent to write my plays and comedies. Political science will not be shaped by who Mandelson breakfasts, sunbathes or spends New Year with.
If he is to be missed, it will be for his entertainment value as the vitriolic dame in the Westminster panto.
Machiavelli’s opinion was interpreted by Will Coe, Feb 2011
Feel free to comment on this article..
Made any connections?
If you can link the past to the present, we’d love to hear from you.
I am a man. Machiavelli: I am a character assassination, Machiavellian. I am comfortable that history has been able to separate the two, the good in me from the evil perceived in my philosophy. There is little of myself to be seen in Baron Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool, although superficial similarities of upbringing can be noted. With him, the image is the man and the man is the image. I was never Machiavellian, my short political career swears to that, doesn't it? Whether 'The Prince of Darkness' has evinced sufficient deceit, despotism, and political manipulation to be described as Machiavellian is a more pertinent question and one which there is none better than me to answer.
Peter Mandelson is so self obsessed he observes all life through a mirror. The distortions this provides allows him to believe that he wears the cloak of servant only to cover his true uniform, that of master. Solipsism is no bedfellow of service but, as any despot knows, it has a strong albeit tempestuous relationship with success. It is clear to me that Mandelson considers himself capable of ruling any kingdom up to and possibly including heaven. By positioning himself as 'The Third Man' of Britain's recent government, he struts as though he has ruled already. "I was at the heart of the story," he declares. So deeprooted is his self assurance that he has been able to make reincarnation appear something akin to the three-card-trick. His deceits have been discovered and he has simply made them disappear. Does that mean he has the makings of a true Prince within him? That, with a man like me to advise him, he could soon oust the charismatically-challenged Miliband and negotiate a fourth coming? Even if I helped it happen, I could not make it last long.