The instruction to start clearing-out measures — dated August 28 — sets Lord Mandelson on a collision course with Harriet Harman and the unions, who are championing many of the new laws that he most wants to shelve.
In the letter, sent to other members of a Cabinet sub-committee, Lord Mandelson wrote: “I support the approach that where measures appear without a planned implementation date — and on the assumption they are not planned for the near future — we commit to not imposing these measures until after April 2011.”
A delay to the much-vaunted statutory crackdown on pubs and clubs will also be an embarrassment for Gordon Brown, who promised to bring in the code just five months ago.
“We are going to bring in a new mandatory code on the sale of alcohol,” he said on May 12. The code would “tackle binge drinking, targeting the kind of promotions like ‘drink all you can for a fiver’ which can turn some town centres into no-go areas.”
Unelected Lord Mandelson, it would seem, in the face of inevitable defeat at the next election, is trying to head off the prospect of Labour being remembered as the government which not only imposed a ludicrous smoking ban, but also banned 'Happy Hour'.
The party of misery would have a certain attraction to opposition parties, would it not?
Lord Mandelson has already succeeded in delaying the implementation of a ban on cigarette displays: supermarkets will not be forced to put tobacco products under the counter until 2011.
For delaying, read consigning to history, as the Tories (who will undoubtedly be in power by then) are already committed to killing the idea stone dead. That's if the lies and outrageous misleading of parliament don't result in the silly addition to the Health Bill being thrown out before that.
Have Labour finally realised that kicking the nation's working class in the nuts is not the way to gain approval amongst their core vote?
A couple of years too late, Mandy. A handbrake on illiberal crap is not enough. Try looking for reverse gear at full revs and you may be more successful.