Well, no. He is arguably not yet quite in the league of a Lloyd George or Bill Clinton or even Willie Whitelaw (let alone a Potemkin or a Wolsey) – nor up to the standard of my personal favourite, Harold Wilson.
But – as he returns from Corfu to take over the running of UK plc – it is surely a good time to pay tribute to the greatest politician of our time. The G2 profile published yesterday depicted a politician at the peak of his powers. Utterly relaxed, completely in control, running the most prominent department in Whitehall and holding sway over Ministers across Government. As the Guardian says, "to describe him as Brown’s de facto deputy is if anything to understate his position".
Whether or not the current sense that the Government is going through a better patch can be attributed wholly to Mandelson (rather than to the Summer recess), there can be no doubt that he is fiercely admired by contemporaries and feared by opponents – and rightly so, as George Osborne discovered to his cost the last time Mandelson was in Corfu.
Will he return to the Commons and try to become Prime Minister one day? Will he (as has been improbably suggested to me a few times recently) switch sides after the election and join the Tory Government? We will wait to see. But we can be certain that he will continue to play a leading role – and, bluntly, is there a better choice for leader of the Opposition if Labour loses in May next year? Is there any politician Cameron will relish facing less as he stands at the dispatch box for PMQs?
So, this summer, Peter Mandelson is the politician of the moment. But, come to think of it, given that Gordon Brown brought Mandelson back in probably the greatest coup of his Premiership, maybe Brown is the greatest politician of our time? Now there is a thought to conjure with.