Peter Hoskin

The wrong man for the job?

The wrong man for the job?
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Malcolm Rifkind writes an acerbic article over at Comment is Free, on why Tony Blair shouldn't fill the role of EU President.  He has two key points: 1) The role's not that powerful, and 2) Blair spells bad news for Europe.  Rifkind lets loose on the second of these:


"Ultimately, however, the question is whether Blair is the appropriate person to do the job. The answer to that has to be no. At the time of the Iraq war, he divided Europe in a way not seen for 40 years. His foolish decision to side so unequivocally with George W Bush has damaged his own credibility across Europe to such an extent that he would find it difficult to forge a consensus on political issues or to speak on Europe's behalf.

Blair's own political record on Europe is hardly covered in glory. He came to office promising to put Britain at the heart of Europe. He left office with Britain no closer to Europe's heart that when he began. On the single currency, Blair did not even get as far as calling a referendum. He negotiated opt-outs from the EU's immigration policies, from its police and justice policies and from the Schengen agreement. His strategy of pursuing a Europe á la carte was very much in the tradition of the last Conservative government. One may even be tempted to remark that when it came to Europe, Blair was Major-lite!"