Peter Mandelson at his best: Interview, ‘making the actual rocks of the past’

By Thomas Goad.

BBC News business editor

Peter Mandelson called his new role “making the actual rocks of the past” BBC Today Programme interview

The BBC has posted all the latest quotes from Peter Mandelson’s Breakfast News interview.

Peter Mandelson comments

What sort of jobs do you look for in government?

Not think you should be looking for jobs and then come and re-examine those jobs you were not trying to think about. I think you must keep on thinking about what is it that you should be doing.

Is the definition of economic growth already quite vague?

I don’t think that the definition of what growth is should be so vague. What you should be looking for is how are we going to share the gains amongst the whole community and the country.

On the big public services decisions about what things to do and what to save, how much of the savings are going to be reinvested in, and how much will be spent… People are very sensible about it.

So you are saying… absolutely no plans of any sort to make cuts in front-line services?

That’s what I’m saying and I think – like the secretary of state today (Iain Duncan Smith), no one would want to have that outcome.

If you take the single basket case, they say… they are saying this is the stuff that we have got, we have got to decide about and why we are going to spend on this one, we are going to spend on that one.

So there will be rather more of that.

I wonder how you reconcile government spending on police with the people not enjoying the policing that they say they want?

I mean we have to take what they say as gospel truth.

That people don’t want to have policemen on the street. Is that what they want?

Is that what they will get when they bring back stop and search?

Are they happy with stop and search? I think their answer is no.

I would have thought that it makes sense – especially if they are being treated with confidence in the democratic processes and in the outcomes that people are getting from them.

How do you make sure that you are not disadvantaged in the political discourse by putting on public money, by being seen to be doing that, as opposed to having private sector costs and private sector benefits?

I don’t think it’s feasible that you have to go over to the private sector – you still have to get value for money by public sector control of the things that we’re having to do.

I’m sure we will find ways of re-using the things that are there, and some of the things will be quite small.

We are talking here about almost 40 million people still living in poverty in this country.

How do you square that with the desire not to spend public money in this way?

I think you will find a way of doing it and I believe that you will have to find a way of doing it – and nobody here is proposing that the creation of private firms – or they become public companies, I mean that will have to be done on its own merits. It will be a choice.

I’ve watched the current issue of the Northern Daily Telegraph in my local area. It’s a small price, I like the way that you do stuff; it’s a nice paper. It’s not inspiring what it’s doing. Do you think it’s doing a job to keep people out of hospital or not?

We have lots of different ways of doing things and we will be able to do some new things, too. People don’t want to lose sight of that.

… the truth is… we are going to be able to do something that has the potential to raise standards in the way that the X Factor or The Voice have done.

And I believe that you are going to need some people around that platform to have an open face and do that.

I don’t see ourselves needing a manager, not yet. If we had chosen somebody with 10 or 15 years of management experience that would be the case. But we are looking for somebody who really loves the job and can play a role not only at the macro level but on the micro level, and I believe we’ve found that person.

Leave a Comment