Sunday, August 01, 2004

More Mandy trouble?

I was on holiday when Blair decided to appoint Peter Mandelson as one of Britain's European Commissioners and thus missed the news.

Today's Observer suggests that Mandelson may be in more financial scandal, this time having rented a flat in Holland Park off a man who is alleged to have been involved in a Coup d'Etat in Equatorial Guineau.

Obviously details are sketchy, and it's quite possible an unfounded smear, but the other characters who have had connections with the man, Sir (!) Mark Thatcher and Jeffrey Archer, hardly inspire you with confidence.

I personally find the decision to award Mandelson the job of European Commissioner baffling and wrong. It's baffling because in the run up to a referendum on Britain's place in Europe the pro-European side need a popular and trusted figure representing Britain in Europe, which Mandelson plainly isn't. It's wrong also because there shouldn't be a political comeback if you've resigned twice from the Cabinet. In other walks of life, say school teaching or being a postman, it would never be allowed to have to leave your job twice for serious misdemeanours, and get a third chance.