Christopher Fildes

Tony Blair’s City nemesis turns up again and opens fire from a tank

Tony Blair’s City nemesis turns up again and opens fire from a tank

The results tell their own story: Tony Blair 3, Conservative party 0; Tony Blair 0, Rodney Leach 3. As David Cameron and David Davis wrestle for the tattered armband which has already passed from captain to captain three times in eight years, they should ask themselves if they are in the right league. Their apparently invincible opponent has been worsted three times, on what he believed to be his own ground, by a Corinthian from the City who is now limbering up for the next fixture. The ground, as ever, is Europe, and when the new young Prime Minister first trotted on to the pitch, he must have thought that the result was predestined. So many people did. He would secure Britain’s place in Europe — and his own place in history — by signing us up for monetary union and the euro. True, this would mean drafting a referendum and winning it, but what was to stop him? He was a proven vote-winner, all the bigwigs of the CBI and TUC and the Financial Times were solidly behind him, and the inevitable Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge would lead his campaigning group, Britain in Europe. It would not have disturbed him to know that a resistance movement was forming in Lombard Street, or that its chief maquisard was the director who supplied strategic thinking to the great Eastern trading house of Jardine Matheson and had just brought out an A to Z of the European Union, from Aachen to Zollverein. This was Rodney Leach. His guerrillas at Business for Sterling learned to ambush their opponents, the Treasury helpfully spun out its Famous Five tests for membership, and the right moment for a referendum never came — most of all, because the polls always showed that it was sure to be lost.

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