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Times Like These

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There are times it is great to be Peter Mandelson. When I return to government under a man who's always claimed to hate me but now wants to be my friend because he recognises that he needs me. When the media hurls accusations of corruption at me that just roll off because really, I've always been a sinister figure to them. When I get a shiny title.

There are times it is awful to be Peter Mandelson. When people say I'm a symptom of what's wrong with politics. When no one's even willing to listen to me.

There are times it is great to be Peter Mandelson. When the newspapers are giving me credit for everything, even the couple of things I delegated, rather than being directly responsible for. When political necessity trumps personal dislike from certain members of the party.

There are times it is awful to be Peter Mandelson. When I have to give up my cabinet seat and wait for my party to sort itself out as Her Majesty's Opposition. When I realise that being in the House of Lords means there's a distance between me and the rest of the party that I can't overcome.

There are times it is great to be Peter Mandelson. When I plant an off-the-record suggestion to a BBC journalist that David Cameron and Nick Clegg have great personal chemistry at the beginning of negotiations. When I remark that this is going to be a marriage not just of the parties, but of their leaders. When every single person who's declared for the Labour leadership asks me for my help in the campaign.

There are times it is awful to be Peter Mandelson. But most of those times it would be even worse to be anyone else.