One of life's great mysteries to the more mathematically inclined is the tale of how plain Peter Mandelson was in the late 1990's unable to afford to buy a £500,000 house without the aid of a loan from Geoffrey Robinson, but ten years later, after several years as an MP on £65,000, a few of which were enhanced by a ministerial salary of £80,000 and a couple of years as an EU Commissioner on around £170k, but all taxed at a marginal rate of 40%, the by then ennobled Lord Mandelson could afford to splash his cash on a £2 million house. This being prior to any book deals.
The mystery has never been solved, but we have seen how Mandelson has been attracted to foreign sources of dodgy cash just as flies will settle on a dungheap, and the Corfu villa of the Rothschilds has been a more congenial and private place to meet the scum of the world. I am sure you all remember how Mr Deripaska told the BBC that his aluminium interests had benefited from his "friendship" with Mr Mandelson, but that friendship was formed not through meetings at Mr Mandelson's offices at the EU (where he was responsible for the EU aluminium tariffs), but on Mr Deripaska's yacht, the Lady K in the Caribbean.
But the latest revelation about Mr Mandelson, who despite BBC attempts to boost his reputation, is not widely regarded as an effective trade negotiator, is his role in Libya. What have we learnt since the latest uprisings in the Middle East? Well first of all, in addition to its role as a funder of terrorism (IRA, Lockerbie), we discovered that the Libyan government has had very strong links with the UK Labour Party and the left wing bodies such as the LSE for many years. We have had to listen to Ed Miliband telling David Cameron that he was slow to act in the Libyan crisis, but then we discover that Saif Gaddafi was invited to give the Ralph Miliband lecture at the LSE a few years ago.
But in the middle of this all we hear that the arch slimeball has also had his spot in the Libyan limelight. Learning that when they take a break from brutalising their own people the Gaddafi family have been spraying cash like confetti on British academic institutions, it transpires that Mandelson had agreed that every British university should be twinned with a Libyan institution. Of course, the BBC fails to ask under what authority he did this, not being responsible for education, and doubtless no British university was asked whether they wanted to do this but doubtless Mr Mandelson reckoned the fees for setting up such arrangements would help him to augment his real estate portfolio, and coming from the murderous thugs in Libya, conveniently private.