Politics.co.uk Blog

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

All's well in the ancien regime

The greatest political rivalry of our age - or one of them at least - hotted up again this morning as Ken Clarke and Peter Mandelson exchanged personal jibes.

The shadow business secretary and the first secretary of state have not been able to face off against each other in the Commons thanks to Lord Mandelson's ennoblement.

As a result they are forced to let off their enthusiasm through other means. In a Financial Times interview yesterday Clarke said Mandelson's grants to companies in need of a leg-up meant he was like a "Bourbon monarch [who] went round in his coach throwing out gold coins".

"He sneeeeeers" at me, Mandelson said at the conclusion of this morning's Labour press conference. It had been a relatively easy half-hour, with Mandelson gaining special pleasure from lording it over the Brownite figure to his left, Ed Balls. He couldn't resist but get in the final word, even mentioning the "Bourbon monarch jibe" as he attacked Tory plans to scrap regional development agencies.

"I think as he looks down his rather long, toffee nose at the regions, people will come back and say thank you very much," Mandelson said glibly.

Andrew Neil, whose chief purpose in this general election appears to be to heckle during press conferences, said he thought Mandelson was more like the Hapsburgs.

"We'll keep the footmen," Balls joked, as Mandy shimmered out of sight. No doubt Balls would suit a footman's outfit himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment