Let us examine some comments of Mandelson, made in the context of criticising the erratic economic policy of the Tories. Mandelson has stated that the public utterances of the Tories are “unpatriotic”, a grave accusation.
Lord Mandelson said it was ''disgraceful'' the way the Conservative leadership had been talking about the economy.
''It is talking Britain down when David Cameron compares Britain ludicrously in everyone's eyes to Greece, and when George Osborne describes Britain as an exhausted runner at the back of a long marathon race unable to summon the strength to build our economy,'' he told The Politics show.
''That is disgraceful, it is irresponsible. It's also unpatriotic.''
This is not new. Figures within Labour have referred, at various occasions, to David Cameron and George Osborne talking Britain down. This allows two meanings: first, that the economy is better under Labour and secondly, that the Tories are not to be trusted because they put party interest above the country. These are strong accusations and the accusation 'disgraceful' if unfounded.
Is there any basis to the comparison between Britain and Greece? Could we be at risk of a sovereign default? If we view that epithet, Rejkjavik on the Thames, and various credit rating agencies throwing cold light on unsustainable finances, then comparisons to Greece are far less “ludicrous” than Mandelson is prepared to admit.
There is some truth to the Tory statements and this leads one to consider Mandelson's accusations in a more sceptical light. What are his motives? There is the concern that discussing disastrous economic scenarios can become self-fulfilling prophecies with the markets. Is this what Mandelson was warning? If so, a sensible statement on this issue did not form part of the narrative. The blame was couched on party political lines: apportioning blame and raising heat in the debate. This emotive accusation does not aid debate; it closes down discussion.
If one were to stop listing this detail and state the obvious: Mandelson's ploy was to spread the manure as it hits the fan: to try and make sure that those in power are not held responsible. His favoured method: a debasement of discourse and the impugning of his opposition.