David Blackburn

Has the tide turned against ‘President’ Blair?

Has the tide turned against ‘President’ Blair?
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Increasingly, it looks as though Tony Blair must make do with what he’s got. Last Saturday, the Independent reported that Nicolas Sarkozy is likely to evoke the spirit of de Gaulle with an emphatic ‘Non’, founded on Britain's retention of the Pound.Today, Iain Martin has heard that Jonathan Powell’s proselytising in Brussels merely antagonised his audience. And the kiss of death for Blair probably came in the form of an endorsement from Silvio Berlusconi.

But, there must be a European President, and, as Matthew D’Ancona observes, Blair’s experience on the international stage, his Europhilia and his Eurotrash-popstar status make him the ideal candidate. Nothing is more galvanising than the prospect of thwarted ambition; for that and his innate good fortune, don’t count Blair out.

PS. Danny Finkelstein has an excellent analysis about the internal EU debate of the relative merits and demerits of a strong EU Presidency. The feeling is, and I second this, that Blair wants the role to be more than an administrative bauble; but little is known about the ins and outs of this vital debate: the government and opposition should join in.