The man who said that he was "a fighter not a quitter," er, just before he quit, said that the Respect candidate - local hospitals, environmental and anti-war campaigner John Bloom - was keeping "bad company" in carrying our standard.
Now, of course, being accused of keeping bad company by Peter Mandelson must be a bit like being told to sit up straight by the hunchback of Notre Dame.
The man who was twice sacked from the Cabinet for secretly accepting hundreds of thousands pounds in loans from another minister - so that he could buy a house way outside his price range - and for punting the case of the Hinduja brothers, the Indian arms dealers, while he was tapping them for money for the Dome could never have been charged with not having a brass neck.
Like Ramsey Macdonald before him, Mandelson's downfall has been his fondness for dowagers - not, of course, in the same way as his earlier fellow-traitor.
Mandelson had a salary measured in the tens of thousands, but he ran around with those for whom that was small change.
Somehow, he felt that he was owed a lifestyle like that of those with whom he rubbed shoulders.
His efforts to conceal the fat-cat fawning that was his daily grind were often comical.
"Who says it's grim up north?" he might have said when, spying mushy peas in a local Hartlepool chippie, he trilled "oooh yes and I'll have some of that Guacamole!"
When asked by the local Hartlepool paper - whose editor he contrived to have fired because he'd rubbed the great man up the wrong way - what item of value he would return to his burning house to reclaim, he replied "My Hartlepool United football scarf."
The notion of super-smoothie Mandy as a terracing tam - least of all in the lower divisions - was simply ludicrous, but Mandelson could never see what a figure of ridicule he had become inside the labour movement.
Perhaps a more telling question would be what exactly was it about his special relationship with the Prime Minister which made Mandy so indispensible that he has been repeatedly dug up from a well-deserved political grave?
But Mandelson is fully justified in fearing that his parting shot to the party which gave him so very much will be the loss of a once impregnable fortress in the by-election, when it comes.
I have been working in by-elections since 1973 - more than 30 years. I am well aware that the electorate frequently punishes the hubris of a party which thinks that it can needlessly create by-elections by packing favourite son MPs off to sunnier climes. Brussels most of all.
Ashfield in the 1970s, when Roy Jenkins's amenuensis David Marquand went off with the great man, and Glasgow Govan in the late '80s, when Bruce Millan was sent off by Kinnock to be, like Mandy, our man in the pate de fois gras mountain, provided two of the most spectacular Labour election defeats in history.
Take my word for it, Hartlepool is going to be another.
In over 30 years of by-elections, I can say that I have never before encountered the level of bitterness, sense of betrayal - even hatred - against a Labour figure that exists against Mandelson in Hartlepool.
The people there feel that their town has been treated just like a dumping ground and, with the toxic "ghost ships" at least providing some local wages, they mean, above all, the dumping upon them of Peter Mandelson.
They feel used - Mandelson was parachuted in by Tony Blair with the "nudge nudge, wink wink" that the town could only gain from their Member of Parliament's place in the court of the Sun King.
Of course, they gained precisely nothing and when a seat in the Commons no longer appealed to the Hartlepool United supporter, he threw his scarf into the nuclear dump and walked away.
Hartlepool has been unfairly traduced for the surely fictitious hanging of a monkey washed ashore during the Napoleonic wars and taken for a wily French infiltrator. But it is true that the people there bristle with a particularly fierce local sense of themselves.
In general, they take a bit of persuading that "outsiders" really have their interests at heart.
And, of course, having been bitten so rabidly by the poodle's poodle Mandelson, they are likely to be twice shy at the forthcoming by-election.
Which is why Respect goes into an election campaign in apparently unfavourable territory with a real spring in its step.
The Respect candidate John Bloom, a local champion, is up against new Labour and Lib-Dem flunkies both peddling the policies of privatisation, war and occupation.
Bloom stands for withdrawal of the large number of north eastern squaddies sent to risk their life and limbs for Bush and Blair in the hellish firestorm which is occupied Iraq.
He fights to save the local hospital as an NHS jewel and against its closure or its prostitution as another disastrous privatisation.
He fights for the use of local marine engineering skills to harvest the formidable wind and wave power for energy.
He opposes the further nuclearisation of the region and an end to toxic dumping of the waste products of the world - Mandelson's most noxious legacy.
I sense among the local electorate - responding to a Respect campaign which is, by common consent, the biggest and most boisterous show in town - a determination to hang all the new Labour and Lib-Dem flunkies. And maybe, just maybe, make Hartlepool bloom!
â¢ George Galloway, the Respect MP for Glasgow Kelvin, writes a weekly column for the Scottish Mail on Sunday.
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