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Blair's EU campaign hits a snag

Michael Crick | 19:12 UK time, Monday, 26 October 2009

Tony Blair's hopes of becoming the new president of the European Union have hit a small snag.

In the last few weeks Mr Blair's former chief of staff during his decade in Downing Street, Jonathan Powell, a former diplomat, has been doing a sterling job for his old boss, quietly co-ordinating his campaign behind the scenes, privately sounding out the 27 governments around Europe.

And, I'm sure that if Mr Blair was to win the new position Mr Powell would be line for a key post at his side in Brussels.

But this week Mr Powell is suffering from a slight distraction from the Blair effort which is rather hindering any attempt to canvass support, at least during office hours.

He's been called up for jury service.


  • Comment number 1.

    It is reported that the Tories are opposed to Mr Blair becoming President of Europe.Are these the same Tories that gave him a standing ovation following his last appearance at the Despatch box? Is it reasonable to assume they prefer one of their new neo-nazi friends to assume the role?

  • Comment number 2.

    It is a little difficult to understand why Blair should be considered for this post given that he is possibly one of the most mistrusted politicians in the UK. The UK is already a country of Euro-sceptics, and in my view, allowing Blair to take this post will reinforce that deep scepticism. It would be good for the President of Europe to be a Brit - but lets try and find someone respected by all, and who will not use the post to further his own egotistical ambitions!

  • Comment number 3.

    There is a potential candidate currently flying under the media radar - Mary Robinson. Former President of Ireland, Mrs Robinson has also served as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
    There are early indications of a groundswell of support online with discussion groups appearing on social networking sites, such as Facebook ( and over a thousand signatures gathered on an online petition asking her to consider standing for the position (
    Would be interested to hear your thoughts about this potential candidate!

  • Comment number 4.

    lets hope he gets a 6 month case

    blair has to be the worst pm the uk ever had. left it unprotected with 'light touch regulation' and locked in market funadmentalism and two unwinnable wars. the uk is not safer and a lot poorer because of blair's divine mission?

    he is a patron of an organisation whose polices of preferment would be illegal in the uk. which is incompatible with human rights for all.

  • Comment number 5.

    great news Blair for EU president...then we can nail the b......for starting illegal wars. Under the UK law he would never be indicted but as EU President they are just waiting for him to go on one of his freebies and wham he will have something served on him that he will have forgotten all about. It won't be a walk out like wot Piniochet got, but a Hague appearance and a chance to get out of him the cosy arrangement between Bush and Blair and the deaths of a hundred thousand people...cannot wait....

  • Comment number 6.

    What's the forceable projection of a certain type of person INTO an establishment over many, many others' wishes?

    And is it true that on top of chief cheerleader Miliband, our 'getting on with the job' GOAT-herder in Chief is directing evidently spare time and taxpayer cash to a Picardesque 'making it so' lobby effort?

    If so, I'm guessing all the other trivial issues of current governance must have surely paled into insignificance.

    Hardly edifying watching the whole sorry crew of SS. Great Britain desperately leaping into the last remaining EU-lifeboat, leaving all the passengers to fend for themselves, having spent the last decade trying to ram every iceberg they could find.

    At least we can be fairly sure Capt. Courage will be around, as going down with the ship seems hardly his style.

    If they were in any maritime employment, I think they would be up for some kind of enquiry:

  • Comment number 7.

    ps; Sorry, system didn't like the URL. Actually 'Board of Inquiry' is likely more accurate and appropriate, but didn't seem as jauntily, nautical as 'Captain's Mast'.

  • Comment number 8.

    I enjoyed my time on jury service because of the way it illustrates why I like my lifestyle and the way I live. I hope that Mr Powell has an enlightening time as I did.

    It should be good to have a president who is from these shores to maybe get this country back to work. Thats my hope, regardless who it is or from which party....

  • Comment number 9.


    High time Blair did some Dock Service. He should feel at home, it's not unlike a pulpit.

  • Comment number 10.

    No5 leftieoddbodd
    Can you recall that there was a vote on the floor of the House of Commons relating to the war? There was a massive majority supporting the decision to go to war. The Tories under their, at the time dynamic leader, the quiet man,wanted to proceed earlier.If the above is true do you think it is sensible to blame one individual?

  • Comment number 11.


    You put your finger on a truth braveSouter. Westminster politics made the war possible. Blair's delusion, backed by Duncan Smith's simplicity, underwritten by the Westminster malaise (party politics - the whip system - absence of representation of the British people) influenced the outcome ot a vote on the floor of the House of Commons.

    I don't know what leftieoddbod recalls, but I certainly remember protesting with a million others - and being ignored. This was the Blair way - guided by his god, and shoulder to shoulder with his chum Dubya Bush.

    Being powerless leads to odd behaviour. Blair, with all his feckless posturing, and money-gathering, is just an easy target. In truth, WE are the cause in that we have not got off our backsides to SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

  • Comment number 12.

    the UN did not sanction armed intervention and did not pass any resolution for an my case....Blair and Bush are war criminals..end of. Of course they think it will never happen a bit like 242 Un Resolution...on the table but that's all, the Israelis think that is forgotten about too...

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    This whole issue is merely evidence of the ridiculous importance we attach to celebrities (as opposed to VIPs). Neither the post nor the candidate merit ouyr attention.

    The post of EU-President will never be more than a figurehead. Can anyone imagine a UK Prime Minister (French President, German Chancellor or any national leader) allowing anyone to swan around the World committing them to anything? The power will vest where it always has - in a Committee of the Member States where the large Member States (especially Germany, France and the UK) hold most of the cards.

    It's just another seat at the top table, and my bet is that that is what Mr Blair is missing.

    As for his qualifications for the job, important people are important (and carry influence) because they wield power - the power of patronage, the power to dispense money, in short the power to make other people do what you want. As Prime Minister Mr Blair had this - as President of Europe he will not. The idea that his address book from the old days will give him the ability to influence events by virtue of some innate quality is nonsense.

  • Comment number 15.

    #11 barriesingleton

    " In truth, WE are the cause in that we have not got off our backsides to SPOIL PARTY GAMES"

    Actually we haven't got off our backsides because we do believe in democracy and aren't looking for a replacement.

    Independents would fall into general groupings and its hard to hold individuals to account for collective failures.

    Some come along, like the BNP, and hint at replacing democracy with National Socialism. They have had a boost in the polls and will probably go still higher.

    But if you assume their genuine policies are disguised from view you know that to retain a hard core membership they will have to come out sooner or later. It be a dictatorship as Hitler installed in Germany and racial policies and eugenics and so on would come to the fore.

    Personally my take is that changing the electoral system would prevent the kind of arrogance that has led to bad governance from the Tories and Labour.

  • Comment number 16.

    On Newsnight I noted that Labour were talking of National interest as a motivation for getting Blair in.

    Is that really what a good European President should be selected for?

    Then take into account the Iraq War inquiry has not happened. Is this bid in fact "leverage" for any future legal outcome from that process?

    Add on the blind eye to renditions and torture.

    Finally Labour are supposed to be engaging with the people as they hurtle towards an election with an inhibited and soft vote to rely on.

    So is choosing a highly controversial and divisive candidate a good idea or is Brown demob happy?

    Perhaps this was a payoff for recent Blairite support and is obliged.


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