Peter MandelsonI’ve just returned from an evening at the LSE debate entitled ‘The Global Age: Europe, India, China‘ – more here. The debate was all good stuff – Anthony Giddens and Will Hutton talking of the value of European integration, and how Europe’s problems were not thanks to globalisation. Yet apart from Giddens’s snide dig at Gordon Brown (‘we have more to learn from the EU than the EU has to learn from us’), there was little that was new.

So instead of writing a profound analysis of what was said, I would like to instead to focus on the appearance of the last of the 5 speakers at the event, the master of spin himself, Peter Mandelson.

Now it may have been the strong lights in the Peacock Theatre, but Peter was sporting a large, very well groomed head of dark hair that was positively radiant. Mandelson was born in 1953, making him 53 years of age [Wikipedia]. Ask yourself this: how many men of that age have not started to go grey, or a bit bald, or both? Gerhard Schröder reacted very negatively to allegations that his hair colour was not entirely natural [BBC], so what about Mandelson? Further, there’s a whole gender-stereotype issue here: if a 53 year old female politician dyed her hair, would I have even thought to write a blog entry about it? Probably not.

Anyway, long live the Prince of Darkness (even if his speech was a bit dull…)

[Update – 10.10.06]
Seems like the LSE students are all eager beavers but not eager bloggers. I can find only 2 posts about the debate yesterday – this from Globalab that gives a decent summary, and this from Helena – and I live in the same flat as her. So 2/3 of the blogging about the event emanated from 8 Villa Street, Walworth.

(Photo © European Commission Audiovisual Library)


  1. It’s so important, though, the hair colour thing. Ming Campbell’s image is of an old man, while John Prescott’s image may be of many things, but it isn’t particularly as old. Yet he is three or four years older than Ming. Ken Clarke is another one who benefits by seeming younger than he is purely as a result of a fine head of brown hair.

  2. Hi Jon

    You make more than a valid point. Like you – I gather – I am convinced blogging is not just for angsty teenagers, but is reshaping the way we relate to society as a whole and politics in particular. Yet, at the LSE I have found a relatively tepid approach to the topic since arriving (admittedly I have been here for just over 2 weeks). Hence setting up the GlobaLab blog, which I hope will break some old academic habits about information exchange, learning, etc. Let’s see how it goes. I welcome your contributions (and envy your taking part in the Edelman blogging event!)

  3. Now there are many reasons to have a go at the Prince of Darkness, but whether he colours his hair is not one of them. I agree with you that debating the issue of hair colour is definitely a gender thing, and that men get it in the neck unfairly if they do (and I am *not* suggesting that Mandelson does…). It sounded like a fabulous array of speakers? Was it good?

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