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Tony Blair le president?

Nick Robinson | 11:22 UK time, Thursday, 7 February 2008

"Well, Huw, the exit poll in the Tuscany primary suggests that Blair is on course to be president. Junker looks set to hold his home state of Luxembourg...”

Tony BlairNow that might just compete with Clinton and Obama. This idle musing is provoked by my colleague Mark Mardell's blog about Blair for president of Europe and gives me the opportunity to invite you to hear the most entertaining Commons speech of the year to date.

Since Blair or any other candidate to be M Le President will not, in fact be elected by anyone, Hague imagined the scene at the EU summit when Brown realises he's thrown away the veto and can't block Blair's nomination and "the awful moment" when the president's motorcade sweeps into Downing Street. It's delicious and lasts only a minute. Cheer yourself up and watch it here.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 01:27 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Justin wrote:

Tony Blair would prove a fantastic President of the European Union. He is one of the greatest politicians this country has seen since the Second World War. I agree with William Hague as well. Tony Blair is admired by every head of state and head of government in Europe. God bless Britannia!

  • 2.
  • At 02:00 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

Sometimes the truth doesn't just hurt but it can be very funny as well.

  • 3.
  • At 02:07 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • jason dasey wrote:

Hague's speech was hilarious - but oh so true!! I wonder if any of the humourless "persons" on the other side of the house joined in the laughter - if they dare!
By the way, Nick, I haven't seen a report yet of the admission of a barrister, on behalf of our unelected Prime Minister in Brighton this morning, that, effectively, we should not believe a word Brown writes in a manifesto. The quote's already been blogged, but the BBC must have (conveniently?) missed it.
For the record, a UKIP member has attempted to take Brown to court for breach of contract over not holding a referendum on the EU Constitution.

  • 4.
  • At 02:13 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • md wrote:

Nick, you're a bit behind the times with this. How about concentrating instead on the news of Gordon Brown's barrister claiming in court that "manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation"?

  • 5.
  • At 02:31 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Philip Bannister wrote:

Nick, thanks so much for this clip.

I know Mr Brown's apologists will say it's just....something or other....

But this begins to lift our politics out of the mire.

Hoorah! for William Hague

  • 6.
  • At 02:50 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Steve Slater-Brown wrote:

"manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation" is the quote from Gordon Brown's own Barrister.

This is in the UKIP brought case against Gordon Brown for breach of contract over not allowing a referendum over the EU constitution (sorry, treaty).

It's not telling us anything we didn't already know, but isn't it nice that our Prime Minister's own Barrister is now standing up in court and saying "well, you can't actually expect him to keep his word can you!"

Contemptible

  • 7.
  • At 03:19 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Andrew wrote:

The actual footage from the Commons may be seen at the following link:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/politics/brassneck/jan08/watchwilliamhague.htm

And yes Jason, some on the government benches (David Miliband in particular) were in hysterics!

  • 8.
  • At 03:25 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • David blane wrote:

Tony blair ran this country into the ground, what do you think will happen if he takes control of Europe?

  • 9.
  • At 03:35 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Brendan Donnelly wrote:

Note; I am not sure if my previous comment got through. Please ignore this if it repeats what you already have.

William Haig's speech was funny, but its wit derived from the tortuous relationship between Mr. Blair and Mr. Brown, not from anything to do with the Lisbon Trety. Mr. Haig's claims certainly have nothing to do with the reality of European politics.

If Mr. Brown does not want Mr. Blair to become President of the European Council, he can prevent it by simply failing to lobby on his behalf. Even energetic lobbying on Mr. Blair's behalf by Mr. Brown might well be insufficient to obtain the post. Nick Robsinson should be more careful before accepting William Haig's polemical argument that a "veto has been thrown away.' In this case, it is the opposite of the truth. Nothing could be easier than for Mr. Brown to prevent Mr. Blair's successful candidature if he wishes. The wit of Mr. Haig does not always lead to wisdom or a true perception of the realities of the European situation.

Brendan Donnelly

  • 10.
  • At 04:29 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

Very funny and full marks to Hague. He should consider becoming a Rory Bremner script writer.

  • 11.
  • At 04:41 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Rose Howard wrote:

How can Tony Blair, a man who is not trusted by many people in his own country be considered for a job where he has any authority over their lives from elsewhere?
This will be a very bad choice,looking at the state of Britain during his terms as PM,we are the ones still suffering from them

  • 12.
  • At 05:15 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Very funny and a bang on the money example of many a true word spoken in jest.

Now then, Nick, can you enlighten us please. Why have BBC and the rest of the mainstream media been silent on the assertion made in in court by this government's barrister that "Manifesto pledges are not subject to reasonable expectation" ?

Maybe Cameron could pose a question to the PM at Questions to the Prime Minister but would there be a reasonable expectation of an answer ?

Silly me, I've just heard the sound of a the penny dropping. On reflection, it's obvious why the "New Labour manifesto pledges are meaningless" thing hasn't been reported by the news media. It's not news. Silly me.

  • 13.
  • At 05:27 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Paul G wrote:

Hague always was a genius of an orator.... would love to have seen the face of the Labour front bench.

Why can't more speeches be like this... more people might want to be engaged in Westminster!

  • 14.
  • At 05:28 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Very funny and a bang on the money example of many a true word spoken in jest.

Now then, Nick, can you enlighten us please. Why have BBC and the rest of the mainstream media been silent on the assertion made in in court by this government's barrister that "Manifesto pledges are not subject to reasonable expectation" ?

Maybe Cameron could pose a question to the PM at Questions to the Prime Minister but would there be a reasonable expectation of an answer ?

Silly me, I've just heard the sound of a the penny dropping. On reflection, it's obvious why the "New Labour manifesto pledges are meaningless" thing hasn't been reported by the news media. It's not news. Silly me.

  • 15.
  • At 05:28 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • jim brant wrote:

Hague has always been a good stand up comic. Unfortunately he has consistently failed as a politician. It is a slightly amusing clip, but more fundamentally it's sad to see a failure trying to make fun of the two greatest successes (in political terms) of their or most other generations.

I continue to be bemused by the poor technical performance of this site. My last post did actually get through after only half a dozen attempts - in fact it got through twice, though I had nothing but 502 error messages. I understand that we are being hosted from the USA for some reason - it might be an idea to ask them to change server, Nick.

  • 16.
  • At 05:49 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Alexander wrote:

If I were GB I would be more concerned by the generally accepted level of derision in this posting.

It interests me that the PM doesn't seem to realise that this is the cumulative result of his own behaviour in office.

And engineering what he most fears: terminal damage that will put him out of office, and cut short his Gladstonian vision of himself, enjoying ten more years in power.

Sadly, it is the same myopia he has with the issue concerning problems with NHS eye testing.

A simple undertaking to review the current provision (ie kick the issue into the long grass)along with the other 54 reviews he has initiated would have sufficed.

But instead we now have a situation where a serious complaint has been lodged with Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon about his Chancellor's conduct as a constituency MP.

Like MPs expenses, the House may wish to ignore this issue. But a head of steam is building on this and might yet be the one that undoes the PM's reputation in health and education policy, just as his reputation for high finance is also coming unstuck.

By comparison, the prospect of exchanging gallic kisses with Monsieur Blair, le President,could be the most minor of political embarassments in the near future.

  • 17.
  • At 05:54 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Gerard Connolly wrote:


Tony Blair sold the case of war against Iraque to the British public and Parliament on a false premise.It is now clear that the advise from the security services was full of caveats but these were ignored by the Prime Minister.The resulting attack on the BBC who correctly reported the 'sexing up ' of the case for war and the subsequent death of a loyal and distinguished Civil Servant was a disgrace.The subsequent disasterous planning for the post war situation in Iraque and the development of the situation we now find in Iraque has been a disaster.
Tony Blair should retire from any form of public life let alone become President of Europe .

  • 18.
  • At 06:01 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Andrew Busson wrote:

What a shame Gordon Brown was not in the Chamber when William Hague portrayed this extremely good scenario. Just as he wasn’t in Lisbon for the signing of the Treaty. This time he wrangled it so that he would be flying back from Asia with his new best mate Richard Branson on day 1 of the debate.

  • 19.
  • At 07:10 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Neil Basset wrote:

Re post 12, the following is the reply from the Government -

Cecilia Ivimy, for the government, said: "A manifesto promise is incapable of giving rise to a legally binding contract with the electorate. It is a point which is so obvious that I don't want to labour it."

It is breath taking in it's audacity. Basically it is saying no one could ever expect any party keep any promise made in a manisfesto. Atleast this is honest, we will just need to remember not to believe anything we are told and we should be ok, won't we ?

Have been watching six oclock BBC news, not been reported yet, what a surprise. Although it is tucked away on their website, can't expect too much I suppose, the Government of the day saying do not believe any of our manifesto promises is obviously not news.

  • 20.
  • At 07:13 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • jim brant wrote:

Hague has always been a good stand up comic. Unfortunately he has consistently failed as a politician. It is a slightly amusing clip, but more fundamentally it's sad to see a failure trying to make fun of the two greatest successes (in political terms) of their or most other generations.

I continue to be bemused by the poor technical performance of this site. My last post did actually get through after only half a dozen attempts - in fact it got through twice, though I had nothing but 502 error messages. I understand that we are being hosted from the USA for some reason - it might be an idea to ask them to change server, Nick.

  • 21.
  • At 09:04 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

I'm very much in favour of Tony Blair becoming the EU President. The uproar it will generate will hasten the EU's disintegration.

  • 22.
  • At 09:11 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • Richard Laming wrote:

Nick Robinson writes, correctly, that the president of the European Council will not be elected. There is the possibility of primaries, though, because the president of the European Commission WILL be elected, by the European Parliament after the next elections in 2009. The parties that contest the EP elections have the opportunity to put up candidates for president: who will they nominate, and how will they choose their candidates? The Lisbon treaty takes a big step towards parliamentary democracy at EU level.

  • 23.
  • At 11:19 PM on 07 Feb 2008,
  • David Jones wrote:

Humphrey Appleby would be proud of this idea.

A great way to make sure the EU is a disaster and member countries just fight each other. Even better than pushing expansion through so we have an economic two tier Europe.

Well done Minister!

  • 24.
  • At 07:00 AM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Bill Basham wrote:

Tony Blair is a failed former Prime Minister. He promised to eliminate sleeze, then became part of the problem. His reliance on spin contributed substantially to the cynicism and disengagement that characterises UK politics today. And he repeatedly failed to recognise that merely announcing an initiative doesn’t deliver the required outcome.

Abroad, he lied to secure British involvement in the invasion of Iraq and his much vaunted relationship with Bush failed to ensure a workable strategy for post invasion Iraq.

Europe deserves much better.


Hague is a great orator, so is Blair, Cameron has his moments at the dispatch box. This all serves to highlight the deficiencies of current premier Brown.

Hague is a great orator, so is Blair, Cameron has his moments at the dispatch box. This all serves to highlight the deficiencies of current premier Brown.

  • 27.
  • At 11:29 AM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • greypolyglot wrote:

Blair is now as widely disliked in the UK as is the EU. Put the two together and you have a sure-fire recipe for what I would see as disaster - the collapse of the EU or the withdrawal of the UK from it.

  • 28.
  • At 04:17 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Jim Clark wrote:

Is that the same William Hague that resigned the leadership of the Tories a few hours after being trounced by Tony at the Ballot box?

  • 29.
  • At 04:36 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Paul Fox wrote:

Skimming over the BBC Politics page I misread the headline "Blair Europe job speculation" as "Blair Pope job speculation". Certainly made me look twice!

  • 30.
  • At 04:39 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Hugo Lol wrote:

This isn't my view- its my brothers.
Blair was a great politician, with good intentions who was corrupted by spin and George Bush and the EU presidency would be a good second chance for him- so he could do some good- as he did with Clinton.He would also like add that for those who 'detest Europe' that we do need allies and asks why they dislike the idea of europe so much, which isn't explain by their scant arguments- he requests you switch off the computer and go and read the Daily Mail. Apologies for my brothers outspoken manner I just wanted to see the reaction to his thoughts.

  • 31.
  • At 04:45 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • jim brant wrote:

Hague has always been a good stand up comic. Unfortunately he has consistently failed as a politician. It is a slightly amusing clip, but more fundamentally it's sad to see a failure trying to make fun of the two greatest successes (in political terms) of their or most other generations.

I continue to be bemused by the poor technical performance of this site. My last post did actually get through after only half a dozen attempts - in fact it got through twice, though I had nothing but 502 error messages. I understand that we are being hosted from the USA for some reason - it might be an idea to ask them to change server, Nick.

  • 32.
  • At 11:17 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Neil McGowan wrote:

Tony Blair should be prevented from holding public office for the rest of his life.

If the Americans like him so much, then let him go there - he is certainly not wanted in Britain.

  • 33.
  • At 03:02 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • oliverf wrote:

What a great idea. A totally unaccountable leader for a totally unaccountable institution.

  • 34.
  • At 04:08 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • john wrote:

I think tony will make a good president. This country has been alot better because of him.

  • 35.
  • At 10:08 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • David wrote:

"Tony Blair is a failed former Prime Minister. He promised to eliminate sleeze, then became part of the problem. His reliance on spin contributed substantially to the cynicism and disengagement that characterises UK politics today." -- Bill Basham

Though I wouldn't by no means disagree entirely with your analysis of his problems, I do not agree that you can draw the conclusion you began with - as in terms of what he achieved, Blair was a very successful Prime Minister in the political sense, and despite numerous failings was not without his positive contributions to the nation when it came to constitutional and social reform. It is true that he bears the brunt of the blame for the continued cynicism in politics, though.

  • 36.
  • At 12:51 PM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Sam Bannister wrote:

One of the best laughs I've had in ages.. oh dear!

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