There are those who argue that Lord Mandelson’s intervention on behalf of David Miliband was counter-productive given his associations with the old New Labour project. Mandelson’s centre-ground modernising agenda is not to the taste of either unions or more radical activists.
Only last week he said that the manifesto, authored by Ed Miliband, failed to address the concerns of anyone other than natural Labour supporters.
Yet one of Ed’s backers in the PLP told me subsequently that the peer’s criticism was welcome as it reinforced Ed’s image as a break with the past and burnished his leftwing credentials.
Now it transpires that the former business secretary will not be attending conference in Manchester this week. It seems rather surprising given that his speech last year was one of the high points of the gathering, going down a storm in the Brighton conference hall.