Mandelson's feud with Gordon Brown is still in full flow and I doubt whether the phonelines between Downing Street and Brussels will be buzzing when (or if) Brown takes over. They could of course email each other to save any verbal disagreement. Mind you, we all know people tend to be rather more aggressive in emails than in conversations. I think Gordon Brown would be most interested in Peter Mandelson's private email address, which contains the word 'demon'. How singularly appropriate.
When he took his Commissioner's Oath he promised to leave party politics behind him. As we all knew, Mandelson has found it almost impossible to do that. Every few months he is pictured at a Labour Party event. Every so often he makes a statement about how awful Gordon Brown is. And today he shares with us his view that it would be far healthier for the Labour Party to have a proper leadership contest. I happen to agree with him, but as an EU Commissioner he really should be keeping it zipped. I do not recall his two immediate predecessors Neil Kinnock and Chris Patten indulging themselves in this manner. I suspect he does it to remind us that he still exists.
The next controversy regarding Peter Mandelson will come in Tony Blair's Resignation Honours List, where he is almost certain to make Mandelson a Life Peer. Let's face it, if Blair doesn't, Brown is hardly likely to.
Attention must now turn to Mandelson's replacement. If there is no election before 2009 it will fall to Gordon Brown to make the appointment. This is a tricky one. In theory he should appoint a Conservative, although there is no convention that says he must do so. Indeed, he is much more of a party political animal than Tony Blair was (oops, past tense already!) so I would not be surprised if he appointed one of his own Cabinet. Of course, he could surprise us all and appoint a Liberal Democrat.Step forward Charles Peter Kennedy.
This appointment would have many advantages for Brown. Kennedy is popular in the country, Brown would be seen to be non-partisan and if Cameron won power he would be saddled with a pro-European, federalist British EU Commissioner.