How to Be the Best of Frenemies; Odd Couple: Barack Obama Has Employed His Democrat Opponent Hillary Clinton Water under the Bridge? Former Sworn Enemies Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

How to Be the Best of Frenemies; Odd Couple: Barack Obama Has Employed His Democrat Opponent Hillary Clinton Water under the Bridge? Former Sworn Enemies Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown


Byline: ANNE McELVOY

HOW To Work With Your Best Foe: A User's Guide is shortly to be compiled by Barack Obama as he deploys his dearest frenemy Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

The Obama-Clinton competition for the Democrat nomination was a study in the darkest art of politics how to try to kill off someone on your own side.

She said (I translate roughly): "If the phone goes at 3am and there's (another) world crisis, he has no more idea of what to do than my aunt Betty." He said in a debate: "You're likeable enough" one of the best back-handed compliments on record meaning, "Everyone hates you apart from your cronies." Now it's all kiss and make up (emphasis on the make-up), just as Peter Mandelson now advises Gordon Brown, a man he once observed could be very helpful to the New Labour project "if only he'd join it".

It isn't really so different in the rest of life: enemies come with corporate life. The first dilemma that throws us is whether you should ever openly acknowledge it. Or, on the advice of Lily Allen, take the ultimate revenge of sweet indifference: "At first, I felt bad for a while/ But then I just smile/ I go ahead and smile." A quick straw poll of how to deal with the desk enemy elicits a barrage of stories about office feuds. One colleague had a rival who used to spread his body halfway across the desk to prevent her sitting opposite the boss at important meetings and greeted her resignation with a beaming: "Congratulations. …

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How to Be the Best of Frenemies; Odd Couple: Barack Obama Has Employed His Democrat Opponent Hillary Clinton Water under the Bridge? Former Sworn Enemies Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown
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