15 July 2010

Good news from the BBC's revamped website: Mandelson embedded!

I've just noticed that there's a very welcome innovation on the revamped BBC website that brings it into line with YouTube and other sites from which you can embed video clips in blog posts.

This is going to make life much easier for those of us who like to be able to post examples illustrating whatever it is we're blogging about.

To celebrate, what better way than to embed the first clip on which I noticed that this is now possible, namely an interview in which Lord Mandelson explains (?) why his loyalty to the Labour Party is unaffected by washing so much dirty linen in public via his memoirs and their current serialisation in The Times:

So it was the cash!
Followers of Twitter may have noticed that I put out some tweets the other day asking what had motivated Mandelson to wash so much dirty linen in public at such a difficult time for a party that's just lost an election and is still engaged in electing a new leader:
  • To put the record straight?
  • To assert his own importance in the history of New Labour?
  • Or to collect as much cash as possible while the going's good?
All the replies I received suggested people thought it was the third of thes - and two moments of disarming honesty in the above confirm that a desire to cash in was indeed at the heart of his motivation:

1. "If I'd done that (i.e. written a 'normal ordinary political memoir') not only would people probably not have bought it or read it, but you'd be here asking why weren't you more honest..." (1.10 minutes in)

2. ".. how topical should you be? Should you wait for two years or more by which time everyone's lost interest in what you have to say ... so in my view better to get it out while it's fresh..." (2.14 minutes in).

In another interview in The Guardian, Mandelson is just as open about the importance of his 'warts and all' approach for finding a publisher and selling a few books:

But has he not betrayed confidences for personal gain ? "It's a memoir. I did not want a nondescript work that glossed over everything. I cannot tell a story about myself without telling a story about Tony and Gordon. We were so intertwined. You either don't tell that story at all or you tell it truthfully, warts and all; you cannot be half-pregnant in a situation like this.

"The days of anodyne memoirs where everything is hushed up and swept under the carpet for 30 years are long gone. You would not find a publisher and you would not find anyone to buy it, and if anyone was unlucky enough to buy it they would be asleep."

Slight exaggeration?
".. I've been a member of the party all my life .." (1.30 minutes in).

Lord Mandelson was born on 21 October 1953 - but I'll gladly leave it to other anoraks to check out whether the Labour Party has any record of his parents signing him up as a member on that particular date.

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