I'm glad that former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern tells the truth about Peter Mandelson in his upcoming biography.
Ahern says Mandelson held up the peace process when he was Northern Secretary and was essentially a waste of space.
I couldn't agree more. I found Mandelson to be the most arrogant and insensitive British politician I've ever met and that is saying something.
I think I have met every British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since James Prior back in the early 1980s. None came close to Mandelson for arrogance and obnoxiousness.
He simply refused to listen. When I met him he told me how everything was even though he was hardly a wet day in Northern Ireland at the time. I say through an insufferable half hour lecture on how Irish America knew little about the place even though we had just played a seminal role in helping find a solution there.
Later in his autobiography Mandelson stated he was using a conversation with me to send a message to Sinn Fein and the IRA. If he was it was a weird one to send. What I heard was "I am the most obnoxious person you will ever meet and I know everything and you know nothing."
In a strange way I compare it to another obnoxious politician, former Congressman Joe Kennedy Jr., who came to me at one point for a briefing on Irish America's view on the Irish peace process. Like Mandelson, Kennedy never shut up and every statement he made showed me even more how little he understood.
I'm glad Bertie Ahern has stood up and told it how it was with Mandelson. Clearly Mandelson was not only obnoxious to me and Irish Americans but to everyone else as well. I should not be surprised.