Saturday, October 16, 2010

Inside the cosy world of our top politicians

Having seen a brief clip, I can't wait to view the rest of "Mandelson: The Real PM". This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows Cabinet Minister's grandson Baron Mandelson in the febrile run-up to the last election. How he got away with it I'll never know.

It's made by his personal friend Hannah Rothschild, the sister of financier Nathaniel, in whose company Mandelson made his controversial visit to the yacht of Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, where he also bumped into Baronet's son George Osborne. All these guys must have been bantering with each other for years now, at smart parties as well as at despatch boxes. One can only be thankful that they met Deripaska because that must have been the only time that year that they'd had dinner with anyone who'd worked on a building site.

The film promises to illustrate what a narrow gene pool our top politicians are drawn from nowadays. I don't think the makers will notice but we will. As politics becomes more and more about TV it favours people who are above all things polished. During the Labour leadership election, which was contested between candidates who had all been to Oxbridge, institutions which are world class at polish, I couldn't help but wonder if David or Ed Miliband would ever have found their way to Doncaster or South Shields if they hadn't had them lined up as safe seats. Bet they're the only people from Primrose Hill to make regular visits.


  1. Saw a clip of this on the review show last night. According to the reviewers Rothchild's links to PM aren't made explicit in the film which if true is poor form. But the whole interconnectedness of the press and politics is an ongoing problem. One of the things that came out from the Milliband election was that they new everyone in these circles from childhood.

  2. David Miliband enjoys a £1,500 discount (sic - the suits costs £3,000) on Ozwald Boateng suits.

    What do you think the most expensive suit you can buy in South Shields is?

    My guess is most of his constituents have to make £1,500 last all month and pay the rent and all the bills.

    But - like all the rest - he and his family live in London and go up one weekend in four.

    It's not a "constituency", it's a business trip. All expenses paid.

    Same with Ed Balls, same with Yvette Cooper, same with Ed Miliband, same with Luciana Berger...

  3. "As politics becomes more and more about TV it favours people who are above all things polished."

    Beautiful insight, David, but I think you mean "who are polished, above all things" or "who are, above all things, polished". As it stands, it's in danger of meaning the opposite.

    @Matt Tempest: "It's not a "constituency", it's a business trip. All expenses paid." Hear, hear. I've got dreadfully apathetic about party politics these last years, but observations like that still strike a chill.

  4. In the UK, journalism is behind only medicine and the law in its dominance by those of middle class origin - and its social exclusivity is getting more extreme.

    I do shifts at a national newspaper. Our office contains, at a wild guess, 150 people. One of them is black. Class origins are less obvious, of course, but judging by the accents....