I have been wondering for a while what Mandelson has been up to. Along with Kenneth Clarke - and we've certainly been seeing a fair bit of him on our TV screens - he has been identified as a key member of the Bilderberg Group. Will Hutton has referred to this shadowy bunch as the 'high priests of capitalism'. so we might expect them to have been rather busy recently.
Mandelson has taken a few blows in his time, most recently when the trade talks, the Doha round which had been billed as the round for the poor nations, collapsed during the summer. Globalisation is really about money, but in order to make the extortion of resources from the world's poor seem more decent it has to have trade as well. The terms of trade need to be fixed so that the rich countries will always win the game. It was that which the more powerful of the producer nations refused to accept in Geneva in July, and so the talks collapsed.
And now the financial side has fallen apart as well. No wonder we need dear Peter back in the Cabinet. Some speedy restitching of the global capitalist pact must be achieved without delay. No chance this time of a transparent international negotiation, or a fair balancing of the needs of all the world's people. This will be Bretton Woods on the back of a fag packet and behind closed doors.
So I'm not taken in by the drivel about Labour patching up its quarrels. We long since reached the Cat's Cradle world of Gore Vidal, where the politicians allow us a meaningless choice between policy platforms that are only cosmetically different. Who do you vote for if you don't want capitalism at all? If you're tired of a world where children are allowed to starve so that we can have plasma TVs? Where middle-income taxpayers in this country are subsidising the Bank of England's decision to buy the worthless assets of the morally as well as financial bank-rupt? By the way, this is not a rhetorical question.