President Blair?

There is much ado about the prospect of Tony Blair being the European Union’s first President. Of course, the first thing to say is that I suspect that this is a ‘Westminster Village’, political press story which is awfully exciting to politicos but not of much interest to wider voters. In that context I think the Politics Home poll of it’s ‘PH100’ which concludes it is safe for the government to campaign for Blair is the correct one. I don’t know of any opinion poll on the subject but suspect that there maybe an afterglow of affection for Blair now he has left office and faded from the collective consciousness somewhat; whether that is merited or not is, of course, another matter but at least Gordon Brown can console himself with the thought that his endorsement of Blair won’t make things worse.

For the Conservatives however, things are a little more tricky and the poll concludes that it would not be in their interest ot make an issue of a Blair presidency. It could look like petty point-scoring and could focus attention on an issue that still seems to be causing them some difficulty. Some debate is going on within on the pages of Conservative Home with some (not unsurprisingly) appalled at the thought and some arguing tactically in favour;

Having repeatedly called for renegotiation of our position within the EU, I don’t think my Euroscepticism should be in any doubt.  But we should not confuse believing that the world should be different with failing to make the best of the world as it is.  And the way the world is is going to include a President of the EU.  And, that being so, it simply must be in the UK’s interests and, indeed, in the interests of the country called “Europe”, that our President be Blair.  It seems to me to be plain silly to be spiteful, and, in the name of some ill-judged personal revenge against Blair, oppose his candidature.

Meanwhile, what are we saying? The answer is not an awful lot, so instead of making the case for a democratised Europe and against a Presidential post that is unelected we have nothing to say. This silence is not very becoming but is rather symptomatic of a developing desire not to be seen as too keen on Europe and setting ourselves against the tide. How we expect to change things like this is beyond me….

 

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About darrellgoodliffe

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6 responses to “President Blair?”

  1. Dav123 says :

    Blair and Cameron….has Cameron started to use Blair’s technique?
    Check out my article of the issue of Blair, Cameron and the EU presidency:

    http://takeonpolitics.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/the-heir-to-blair/

    Like

  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Dav123,

    Thanks for the comment and the link. I will look at your article and who knows it might even spawn a blog post but I think there are alot of differences between the two especially in the parties they lead.

    Like

  3. asquith says :

    Are they trying to say that Britons should support Blair because he is one of us? That hardly works, given that he didn’e benefit this country when he was prime minister & there’s no valid reason to think he would do anything for us as president of Europe.

    Though, as someone on the Eurosceptic side of things, I’m hoping that this starts hitherto pro-EU at all costs types asking themselves serious questions.

    You’re right about this being an issue for politicos only. Only a few know there is or will be a president of Europe. From speaking to “normal” people they actually seem to quite like Blair &, wrongly, view him as substantially different to Brown.

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  4. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Asquith,

    Yes, I think so to be honest. It doesn’t work also because arguably the role doesn’t entail that much, it’s not as if his Middle East role has benefited this country either.

    Well it doesn’t me and I could well be said to fall into that category.

    Agreed.

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  5. euandus2 says :

    The Economist recently referred to the candidacy of the Belgian prime minister as “comical” while Tony Blair’s would be quite good for the EU standing next to the US. While Blair is a good choice as a figure head, the Belgian prime minister is perhaps superior in negotiating common positions (which is necessary in divided Belgium). I have just posted on what might be behind the British position here. http://euandus3.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/228

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  6. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Eu,

    Good post. Thanks for the link. I suppose it’s a valid question to wonder whether Blair would be that good standing up to the US; so viewed from that angle his presidency probably not such a good idea. Not sure about the Belgian…but might emerge as a good compromise candidate so possible winner. We shall see 🙂

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