Presumably the PM wants to bind Mandelson and the Blairites into his voyage into recession for some industries. Does Mandelson want to help, or is he out to assist the Blairite cause from his new ringside seat?
Let’s assume he wants to help, as he tells us. Brown has given him the dreadful job of holding the hand of business as we enter a nasty downturn. Will Number 10 support him and take most of the blame for the poor position of business, or will there be tensions over what caused it and what to do next?
It’s certainly going to make politics more interesting, but I doubt if it will bring forward the policies we need urgently to fight recession. Don’t expect Mandelson to urge lower interest rates or better fiscal discipline anytime soon. There is still no alternative policy being advocated around the Cabinet table to try save some jobs and preserve some businesses, at a time of grave danger to our economy.