Appointment of President Blair would be seen as a "hostile act".

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Jason, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Jason

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    The UK Conservatives (William Hague) have announced to EU heads of state that they would see the appointment of Tony Blair as EU president to be a "hostile act".

    This is strong language! A "hostile act" is usually an attack or a declaration of war.

    Key bits from Hagues speech include the following:

    "British voters, who are about to remove a Labour government, would regard his reappearance on the world stage as a hostile act... Relations between a Conservative government and the EU would be worsened if Mr Blair were president... EU countries should remember the Iraq war and what that had done to European unity. Iraq would haunt Mr Blair in his first few months as president because he would have to give evidence in public to the Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 war."

    Now the Conservatives are promising that if Lisbon is ratified thay will promptly issue a statement on what their position is. The chattering classes seem to feel it has to be some form of referendum. UKIP have announced that they will target all Conservative marginal seats.

    My thought for late Monday evening is that within hours of the Czechs ratifying the treaty the Conservatives have to promise some sort of referendum on Europe. What else can they do? The challenge is how to phrase the referendum question in a Europe where Lisbon has been ratified.
     
  2. Gl3nn

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    Again...chairman of the European Council...NOT president.
     
  3. jason_els

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    Is the UK in a position to demand such a thing from the rest of the EU? If Blair gets chosen then he's chosen and you hope you get a bigger share of the pork. That's how this works. You might think he's a dork but the rest of the EU doesn't? Is that the idea?

    Seems rather imperious to demand that your own countryman not be nominated to the EU presidency if that's what the other countries want.
     
  4. Catchoftheday

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  5. Jason

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    In a word, yes, the UK Conservatives are in such a position.

    The UK Conservatives probably have the political clout for their statement to have effect. The EU will have to get on with the UK government (a net contributor to the EU) and for them to appoint a president which the likely incoming UK government treats as a "hostile act" would be a pointless act of provocation. There are other candidates without this baggage. Probably the reality is that Hague has sunk Blair's boat. So yes this is a statement with authority behind it - it is not bluster. The statement was made because it is expected to have effect.

    The moral case is that Blair is facing an inquiry which may well censure his actions. If allegations that he caused evidence on WMD to be "sexed up" are substantiated then he may be facing a subsequent war crimes trial. It seems unlikely that he will come out of the process unscathed. Indeed his best way of avoiding prosecution may be to take a senior office, eg president of Europe. Yes this does need to be an idea which is put before the European heads of state who will soon be horse trading to appoint the (unelected) president of Europe.

    There is also a case related to UK public opinion. About 85% of UK people think that Blair should not be EU president. It is pretty rare to get this sort of consensus on anything. The view is that the EU presidency is Blair's reward for his betrayal of Britain to the EU - his Judas price. The EU leaders need to realise that appointing Blair is unleashing some pretty strong anti-EU forces in Britain.

    What the Conservatives want is a low-profile president, with a view to diluting the role. At present the role of the president is not defined by the Lisbon Treaty and his powers are not properly set out - indeed the intention is that the powers should organically grow. It is even possible at the moment to claim that the president will not truly be a president, though this is playing with words. If Blair is president the whole world will call him president. If some unknown gets the job then maybe we can call him chairman of the European council.

    The interesting issue in the next few weeks is going to be how the Conservatives respond to a ratified Lisbon. Possibilities include a multi-option referendum (with leaving the EU as one option) or a single-issue referendum around setting out UK demands for autonomy on certain issues. Or doing nothing through a referendum but instead seeking to reform (ie sabbotage) the undemocratic EU. We really are looking into the unknown. But the Conservative party has said that if Lisbon is ratified they "will not let matters rest" and now have described a possible EU action with terms usually reserved for countries at war. This is fisty-cuffs.
     
  6. jason_els

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    I predict that the UK will leave the EU, Blair or not. Give it two years or so.
     
  7. Jason

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    David Cameron has just answered questions from journalists, mostly on this issue. He has said (my jotting of his words):

    "William (Hague) has made our position very clear ... I've nothing to add to that".

    Without himself using the "hostile act" phrase he has signed up to the idea. He also said that Lisbon is not the right direction for Europe, that the office of president is an emblem of statehood which makes many uneasy, and has refsed to give a hint of what the Conservatives will do if/when Lisbon is ratified.

    The day Klaus is bullied into signing will be the day the Conservatives just have to say something, and in full media spot light. My pennyworth is that he will look an absolute wimp if he says "it's a done deal, we will beg the EU for a few concessions, but we all know they won't give them". I think he has to annnounce a referendum.
     
  8. 123scotty

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    well i hope this does not come true. as most u.k. trade is done within the e.u countries. and the pound could be a target for currency speculators. britain is not strong enough to lose trade from e.u countries. or pay the tax levied on goods supplied from countries outside the e.u. instead of bickering and complaining and flag waving. why not be involved and make a better e.u. something to be proud of. instead of looking back to the good old days and acting like that world still exists. would companies like Nissan ,Toyota , bmw, Vauxhall, and other major employers still have factories here if the u.k. if it was out side the euro zone. hmmm maybe not . well jason i hope you can exist on dole money because that is where allot of people will end up . as for William Hague, acting like and talking like this is for home market consumption. because outside the u.k. it really looks bad for yourself and your bickering party especially over Europe
     
  9. Jason

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    I used to think that the way forward was to reform the EU and I've not absolutely given up on this. There is the idea of a solution through broadening rather than deepening: Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Israel, Central Asia. But at the moment the EU is corrupt, has a democratic defecit in its parliament and is pushing through Lisbon against the presumed will of the people of Europe. For years the EU (and previously the EEC) has followed CAP which is the biggest preventable cause of famine in the third world - there can be no moral defense for CAP.

    Now I think the UK would be better outside the EU. I don't pretend to know what the economic ramifications would be - and I don't think anyone really knows. You can find an economist to support any argument. Business likes stability and would not like a change. On balance I think there would probably be an economic price in leaving - but a price worth paying. The UK is the most reluctant European and while there certainly are UK-based EU supporters there are a great number who feel we need to leave to regain a sense of national identity. Do we think it is acceptable to be part of a corrupt, anti-democratic EU whose policies directly cause third world famine - or do we want to take responsibility for our own futures? The latter means accepting the rough with the smooth - the former handing over any sort of meaningful democracy to the Eurocrats and letting them govern us as they think fit without bothering us with elections or referenda.
     
  10. 123scotty

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    yes i must admit the uk is the most reluctant member of europe i think mainly the fault of the press,and some media playing the anti europe bandwagon. if the public were to get unbiased and balanced view i think this would help to make an informed view. as coruption dont think you need a strong telescope. whitehall and m.p expenses. the c.a.p was a disaster from the start that just grew into a monster.it is easier to change from within and not stand outside and shout. the e.u is the only single market and currency that could stand up to the u.s. dominance of world finance.
     
  11. D_Relentless Original

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    Blair - words fail me, like he failed the UK , i would rather see William hague as President if it came to that.
     
  12. Jason

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    I'm supporting the anti-Blair candidate. Anyone but Blair.

    Oh, I forgot. In the democracy that is the EU I don't have a vote.

    By the way the FT is running on a story that the EU will probably now go for a compromise candidate, possibly Jean-Claude Juncker, PM of Luxembourg. He's a soft centre right-wing socialist in the Euro mould.
     
  13. Jason

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    It seems clear that Klaus will get his opt-outs for the Czech Republic. The Slovak Republic indicated a few days ago that they will demand similar opt outs. To get these they would have to un-sign Lisbon which just about everyone assumes they wouldn't do. But this is East European politics, so who knows. The Czech opt out is wanted because of the Benes Decrees which the exiled Czechoslovak government made during the Second World War (and immediately after) and which had the effect of kicking Germans out of Bohemia and Hungarians out of Slovakia. The Czechs fear having to pay compensation for this high-handed act of 1946, hence the rationale behind Klaus's case. But of course the same logic applies to the Slovaks, and if one part of the former Czechoslovakia gets an opt out there is a sort of logic that the other part should too. Maybe Slovakia will get what it is asking for - the EU seems ready to agree just about anything right now.

    Today there is a story that Hungary may unsign the treaty if Slovakia gets such an opt out. Presumably Hungary - or some within Hungary - were planning to use the provisions of Lisbon to take revenge against Slovakia for the action Czechoslovakia took against Hungarians in Slovakia 63 years ago. And this will just encourage the Slovaks to dig in and demand their opt out.

    Politics.Hu: Hungary wants out after Slovakia wants in on Czech amendmant to Lisbon Treaty

    By the way the general rule of thumb is that the Slovaks hate the Hungarians and v v. My thought is that both countries are spoiling for a fight on this and that if Klaus gets an opt out this issue will get lively.
     
  14. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

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    Fixed it.

    Doesnt exist.
     
  15. 123scotty

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  16. Joll

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    I think the problem is that Britain, through experience, doesn't trust Tony Blair. Many feel misled over Iraq and WMD, plus feel betrayed by him to the EU. He has quite a favourable image in America, but they've only really seen one side of him, and are maybe unaware of quite what he is capable of.

    He's a very talented, high-profile politician, and if appointed EU Council President (de facto EU President) there seems no doubt that he'd develop the role as a powerful European figurehead, to drive forward Europe's ambitions for a much bigger global role.

    The British generally don't want Lisbon - which creates the President role - and especially would not want someone who acts as a focal point for uniting Europe and projects it onto the world stage as a powerful player.

    Yes, it is mildly flattering to have a fellow Brit nominated for the post, but since we don't want that post to exist - and wouldn't agree with the direction in which Tony Blair would take it, then we have to voice our opposition to him.

    Anyway - I suspect many get the feeling Tony Blair would be batting for Europe (and himself), and not for Britain, so why would we want him? I think Blair has long considered Britain too small a stage for him, and I think it's also a long time since we considered him one of our own.

    Newspaper view of it: Telegraph Article
     
  17. D_Relentless Original

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  18. Joll

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    If Juncker gets in, he apparently would focus on internal harmonising, etc. He's quite a federalist so he'd still want a united, powerful europe - but it might take a lot longer (thankfully).

    Sooty and Sweep tho, that could work! :D
     
    #18 Joll, Oct 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2009
  19. 123scotty

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    yes there is milage here
    why well sooty and sweep can be understood in all member states without a translator and sooty has a magic wand
    beat that teflon tony
     
  20. Joll

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    Soo can be the official EU interpreter. Or maybe the competition commissioner instead of Neelie Kroes. ;)
     
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