“Filthy rich” Mandelson pulls up the ladder on aspirationPosted on January 1, 2012
Famously, Peter Mandelson once said he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes” – the phrase summed up the embracing of aspiration which proved to be one of New Labour’s key steps to electoral success.
So it’s interesting that he has now apparently abandoned his state of intense relaxation and is instead jumping on the bandwagon of being twitchy about income inequality and critical of the aspiration which he once embraced.
It’s convenient for him that this change of heart has come about in 2012 – long after he himself became “filthy rich”.
No-one knows quite how much he earns, though high six figures or even seven figures a year are often touted. We do know that his latest house is worth £8 million – more than enough to count as filthy, one would have thought.
His spin today is that this is because economic and political circumstances have changed. But isn’t it really just the same old story, that he’s the kind of person who embraces aspiration when he himself is aspirant, but promptly does his damnedest to pull up the ladder once he’s at the top of the pile?
The master strategist was part of the group around Tony Blair who recognised that being tough on crime, welcoming towards aspiration and positive about enterprise is the foundation of electoral success in Britain. If even he is abandoning that thinking – largely because he is now rich enough to afford to – then the Opposition are in real trouble.