An interesting piece in today’s Independent by columnist Matthew Norman, about Peter Mandelson – a political figure I’ve blogged about before. I remain beguiled because he is, by a country mile, the most high powered political figure we’ve had in this country who also – it just so happens – is gay.
A long-ish article but I am fascinated, again, that the last great taboo is almost definitely over. We are finally, it seems, ready to accept a premier who – it just so happens – is gay. Such a thing is no longer anathema. An individual is, at last, a viable candidate based on merit, rather than blacklisted because of their sexuality.
… an openly gay prime minister now appears acceptable to the country. Remembering his fierce fight to remain in the closet, there’s a weeny irony in this one. But, in making the shattering of the last great glass ceiling imaginable, he may already have done more to promote equality than the gay campaigners who once sought to out him.
I also like the references made to The Wizard of Oz.
Mandelson … has mutated from Wicked Witch of the West into Good Witch Glinda, and with the party marooned in a scarily alien electoral world, a friend of Dorothy is required to safeguard those ruby slippers and ensure that New Labour finds its way home.
Mandy’s profile has soared in recent months. As most of the Cabinet run around like lemmings and in total disarray and utterly without credibility – he alone seems to stand apart. I am not, nor ever will be, a Labour supporter – but I do admire Mandy.
Like that Kansan tornado, the man is a force of nature. He cannot be diverted, let alone stopped. Much the biggest box-office draw in British politics, he has developed what Francis Urquhart – surely his prime ministerial template – called bottom. Wherever I go these days, be it pub, back of a cab or steam room at the Turkish baths, those who not long ago would rail about him in the least elegant of language now nod sagely and say that he is the only minister they trust on the economy, in much the way they talk of Kenneth Clarke and Vince Cable.
As candidates for Britain’s first gay premier go – there has never been a figure more eligible than Mandy. Perhaps he will create the kind of paradigm shift in this country that Obama achieved in America.
An insightful read in full on the Independent’s website.