Is Mandelson going to keep his job under a Brown administration?
While watching the tributes to Ian Richardson on Channel 4 news on Friday I was amused to see Nick Brown - former Labour Chief Whip and close ally of his namesake Gordon - use the occasion to score some points over an old rival.
He was asked if he ever encountered any characters like Richardson's Francis Urquhart while he was a party whip. He replied that the only person who compared to Urquhart in Machiavellian terms was Peter Mandelson, but that they were different for two key reasons.
1) Mandelson was too unpopular to be a good whip and no-one listened to him. Brown smirked as he described how poor old Peter was disliked so much by his other colleagues that the Chief Whip refused to give him a seat in the whip's office - forcing him to stand and make notes "on top of a filing cabinet".
2) Urquhart was a true-blue Tory and as such "believed in something... not a charge that could be made against Peter Mandelson".
Which made it all the more interesting to read Peter Oborne's article on Saturday about David Cameron's attempts to woo Mandelson, knowing that he won't get to keep his current job past 2009 if Gordon is still in power.
PS - the News of the World reckons that Gordon Brown is thinking about postponing the next General Election until May 2009. Apparently he is keen on combining it with the European elections in order that he can campaign on a platform of trying to make Cameron and the Tories look "soft on Europe". Does this mean that Brown will veto any attempts to bring back the EU Constitution?