Saturday, February 02, 2008


Can Blair really Expect to be Elected President of EU?

Lots of people have suggested that Tony Blair could never be content with being a mere ordinary person after standing down as PM aged only 54. When some politicians aspire to be president of the USA, aged 71, there would have to be something more for 'God's chosen one'. We learn today that the prize after which Tony is now pitching, is the future presidency of Europe. Small beer, you might conclude until reading US scholar Parag Kahanna's assertion that the EU is destined to become the world's most successful empire:

The EU is now the most confident economic power in the world, regularly punishing the United States in trade disputes, while its superior commercial and environmental standards have assumed global leadership.

If Blair reads the same article today it might well quicken an ambition which has never been slow in expressing itself. Cynics might point to his rubbishing of the referendum idea for what became the Lisbon Treaty and the fact that he delayed his departure just long enough to make sure the new constitution, with its new, shiny presidential appointment, was effectively established. But is he likely to get it? I am dubious.

Being a sort of social democrat is bad enough for the likes of Angela Merkel-though Sarkozy seems to recognise, with his support, that labels have a habit of falling off Blair's jacket. Worse though, and possibly fatal, is the unwholesome miasma of Iraq and his insistence on giving unconditional endorsement to whatever George Bush decided was US foreign policy. I just can't see the majority of EU states opting for such a divisive figure when, it would seem to me, one of the principal roles of such a person would be to stand up to and establish a distance from the USA whoever ends up in the White House in November.

Agreed. I can't see it. There is his record of obeisance to the United States over Iraq in particular; then again he is the former-PM of an EU country outside the Eurozone, and outside the Schengen area, and there is Britain's general reputation within Europe of being "semi-detatched", pulling its heels on the European Constitution and much else. And I don't believe he (as the Spice Girls would say) "really, really" wants it. Sure, he is vain enough ("President Blair"); but the Blairs plainly want now to make what the Masters of the Universe call "serious money".
Of course, whoever wins in the States might be quite keen to distance themselves from Blair...whether or not he has to "stand up" to them!
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