James Forsyth

Blair’s campaign falters

Blair's campaign falters
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A contact just back from Brussels tells me that the putative Blair candidacy, which I wrote about this week, is in trouble. Apparently the supporters of Jean Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg PM, are frank that the purpose of his candidacy is to polarise the field with him—Federalist, anti-Iraq—on one side and Blair on the other. In typical EU fashion, the compromise candidate will then be looked for.  

Blair’s problem is that he is the high-profile front-runner. He is the man everyone is either for or against and in a selection that is decided by consensus that person rarely gets the job. In the meantime, the Dutch PM Jean Peter Balkenende, who I am told Merkel favours, is neatly tucked up on the rails ready to break through when there is a gap in the field.