15 December 2009

Mandelson's Fast Friend

Charles Moore's Spectator's Notes for Dec 5 (page 11) have exactly the right austerity and gravitas.

Excellent para in the latest issue to reach Prosperonia, which I reproduce in naughty fullness because not everyone in Spiti Rothschild gets to read the hard copy in time, whereas I know they tune in to this blog whenever I run anything worth dissing round the water cooler.

Mr Moore puts the boot in most effectively and I just wish I could reproduce the pompous flabby letter from Atkins Thomson Solicitors (p24).

Quoth Moore:

"In my lead item last week about how Lord Mandelson had been present at Lord Rothschild’s house during a shooting party attended by Saif Gaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator, I mentioned that Cherie Blair had also been at Waddesdon that weekend.

Now The Spectator has received a strange letter from Mrs Blair’s lawyers. It says that I said she was ‘rubbing shoulders’ with Mr Gaddafi. In fact, says the letter,

‘our client was not present at the shooting party and was not at Lord Rothschild’s house at any time whilst Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was in attendance. Indeed, our client has never attended a shooting party in any location...’ When she went to Waddesdon that weekend, ‘she had only dined with members of the Rothschild family’.

Actually, I never said that Mrs Blair rubbed shoulders with Mr Gaddafi, or even met him: I said that Lord Mandelson had done so. I also pointed out, because I knew that, in Mrs Blair’s eyes, there could be no greater sin than shooting pheasants (unless it be hunting foxes), that she had not picked up a gun. The letter went on to say: ‘In the light of our client’s well known position as a leading human rights lawyer and also being married to the UN’s special envoy to the Middle East, the suggestion and direct inference you make is clearly very damaging to her professional and personal reputation.’

But this UN special envoy to the Middle East is better known as the former Prime Minister of Great Britain. When he held that post, Tony Blair made the deal which brought Col Gaddafi in from the cold with the West and turned his son Saif into Peter Mandelson’s fast friend.

So why does Mr Blair’s wife think she can’t be seen (not that I am saying she was) with this prominent trophy of her husband’s foreign policy? Why does she repudiate with horror an association which Lord Mandelson stoutly defends?

Is there a Cherie/Mandy split here? I gather that Lord Mandelson is very anxious to point out that, though he did meet Mr Gaddafi on this weekend, he did not meet Mrs Blair."

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