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El Presidente

Nick Robinson | 12:12 UK time, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

David Cameron warned today against what he described as an "all-singing, dancing and acting... El Presidente of Europe".

What he wouldn't do was repeat William Hague's alleged warning that a future Conservative government would regard the selection of Tony Blair as president of the European Council as "a hostile act".

Mr Cameron also refuses to say yet what he will do if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified - although there were hints. He spoke of the need for "realism not isolationism" and argued that on every decision in Europe, he favoured "co-operation and co-ordination".

I read this to be not a referendum and not a repeat of John Major's campaign of non-co-operation.


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  • Comment number 1.

    You state, "I read this not to be a referendum". What you do not say is what you do read it to be?

    I do not think that it is correct to dismiss one option without replacing it with another.

    I am anti-EU so I want to know what is going to happen. The Government stance is proven by their refusal to go ahead with a referendum. The Lib-Dems are pro-EU; the unknown is the Tory Party. How can they expect support without declaring how they stand. I thought that you would, will now, give us your views.

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    I think that an unelected el Presidente would be a bad thing as well.

    To acclaim Tony Blair to this position would be a travesty, he walked away from British politics, took a position promising to change the Middle East. So in his last two positions he has gave up and achieved nothing are these the qualification for any position. Some realism on the part of the Home Secretary may help.

    What is wrong with keeping ones powder dry until yoyu know what the problem is that you are facing. It strikes me as so much hot air pontificating what we will do if x happens. A bit like the spin of Mr Brown will save the world on Wednesday. Perhaps a quieter more rational approach will benefit us in the long run rather than the speculation on a hypothetical instance.

    As an aside how much speculation is allowed with UK Civil Servants lobbying for Mr Blair, is that what we the tax payers pay them to do? Is this not a missuse of tax payer money?

  • Comment number 4.

    I read it to conclude that we're all going to be Europeans now, whether we like it or not.

    Perhaps in a few years we'll all be spending our worthless Euro notes with Tony's smug grin plastered all over them.

    It's not Cameron's fault per se, he's just wising up to the reality that NuLabour haven't left us with a choice.

  • Comment number 5.

    The absence of a referendum says much of senior politicians, Labour government, the supposely democratic system of UK and Europe. Are we only given choices when it is a Hobson's choice or where the outcome is of little real importance (like which party forms the next government)?

    The seed of doubt have been sown in the hearts of those who would have voted for the treaty if they had been given the chance to listen, to debate and then to cast their Yes vote.

    Politicans don't trust the people from whom they demand trust.

    Sigh, this is going to end in tears for all.

  • Comment number 6.

    One other downside of Blair being the EU president is that Cheri Blair will be the first lady of Europe.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think Cameron is right about Blair becoming President and I think you are right in your interpretation of the hints from Cameron about what he would do when the Lisbon treaty is ratified.

  • Comment number 8.

    Is there is possibility of any democratic process getting a look in, in this matter at all ??????

    I'm not sure that Tony Blair would be very effective as a President of Europe anyway. His main appeal is that he can get important people to answer the phone, but his quest for a political "legacy" has ended in expensve failure on so many fronts.

    He talks a good game, no doubt about it, and has positive presence, but his record on delivery is poor to say the least. He was elected in 1997 with a manifesto to make politics "whiter than white". After 12 years of new Labour government it looks like it will end with the expenses scandal blighting politics for years to come, and teh publics perception of politicians at it's lowest level ever. And don't don't get me started on the "ethical foreign policy" which will end up with him giving evidence at an enquiry into the Iraq war. Blair has changed Britain massively in his time, and mainly without the consent of the electorate. Even his own party wanted him out eventually.

    the whole situation is beginning to look like an eleborate set up Mandelson, Blair, and probably Gordon Brown and David Miilband all looking for fur-lined positions in the EU when the elctorate are eventually given their chance to have a say on something.

    If Europe wants a self important celebrity represenative to swan around looking important with no actual output then he could be their man.

    Who can he claim to represent and what does he have a mandate to do ? Certainly not me.......

  • Comment number 9.

    Is it true that Vaclav Klaus is to offer the Czechs a referendum on this Lisbon Reform Treaty? If so, then the treaty is dead. He may not have the support of either of his houses of Parliament, but he does have enormous support from his fellow countrymen.

    But then the "leaders" of the EU oligarchy do not care about such things as what the people want. That is why they are brazenly talking about which candidate gets to be dictator of the whole EU!

  • Comment number 10.


    Just a quick question.

    Why is it you repeatedly focus on this single issue in front of the Conservatives? Wouldn't your time be better spent asking the government about the fact we are still in recession, whilst our European neighbours have already returned to growth.

  • Comment number 11.

    Cameron needs to come up with a post-ratification strategy before the election otherwise many Tory supporters (including myself) will be voting UKIP.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am appalled to think that yet another failed polititian is jumping on the euro gravy train (Kinnock, Mandelsion etc etc).
    Aside from my personal disgust at Blair he is just about the least likey unifying figure on the scene.
    I suggest that only qualification for the EU top despot is to never have been a politician or lawyer. Perhaps then we will get someone grounded in reality along the lines of Lech Walensa. Or, how about this....the people having a choice and voting for their preferred candidtate!!
    Sorry i'm being silly, only the 'right' candidate will win, such is the history of democracy in Europe.

    Cameron is in a no-win situation, as Brown is desperate to tie this up before the election as (and I would put money on this) he needs brownie points to get him a fat job in Brussels once he is soundly kicked out of office, but unfortunately not on the dole like so many of his 'subjects'.

  • Comment number 13.

    #1 1. At 12:38pm on 27 Oct 2009, b-b-jack wrote:
    "You state, "I read this not to be a referendum". What you do not say is what you do read it to be?

    I do not think that it is correct to dismiss one option without replacing it with another."

    But another opinion is inclusive, surely.

    "I do not read this as a referendum"

    "I read this as not a referendum"

  • Comment number 14.

    There's a 40,000 signature europe-wide pettition against blair becoming president thats easy to find if you google.

    I'm extreemely pro-europe & i've signed it.

    The only slightly ironic twist is that there's a comments section, and about half the brits, who have obviously not bothered to read the the wording of the petetion have put something along the lines of 'no to blair, and no to the EU too'

    which kind of muddies the waters on the overall message being sent.


  • Comment number 15.

    #6 baronbash

    I don't think she could ever be descibed as a "lady" - although the one consolation will be that for all her efforts, history will still only remember her just for being Tony's wife.

    For me, the real issue here isn't the prospect of what Cameron will/won't or can/can't do about Europe, it's about how Blair and Brown betrayed us by promising the referendum in their manifesto in 2005 and then reneged on their promise.

    Obviously the long-term strategy was for Blair to become EU president, this was probably part of his pre-arranged payback for going back on his referendum promise, at the expense of all of us who have been given absolutely no say in any of this at all.

    What I don't get is why this has all been done tactically like a non-military coup, and without any form of reasonable debate at any stage. At no point have any party expressed an interest in debating this issue with the general public at all.

    I'm skeptical about Europe for this reason alone. I haven't made up my mind on whether a federal Europe would be a good or a bad thing, but the fact that I'm not allowed to have a say one way or another leads me to suspect that it must be a bad thing. After all, if it was a good thing, then surely every pro-EU politican and media outlet would be shouting about it 24/7 in order to win over the doubters.

    I know there are good points and bad points to it. This is why I want to see these issues debated thoroughly and in public, without propaganda and without people like Blair deciding what I believe for me.

  • Comment number 16.

    Who else has been seriously considered for the role apart from the cheshire cat?

  • Comment number 17.

    I dont care how many countries have ratified this treaty, Cameron should still be giving us teh promised referendum. This is his one chance to show a marked difference to Labour policy.

    I also believe such a guarantee would earn the Tories a vast number of votes from other people such as myself who see this as one of the main issues. Equally, it's also an opportunity to lose a lot of votes to UKIP if he makes the wrong decision

  • Comment number 18.

    William Hague sums it all up rather well.

  • Comment number 19.

    Blair pretty much created the role with the full knowledge that he intended to become this entity.

    There is no doubt about that.

    What I find shocking is that we have an unelected Prime Minister paving the way for an unelected President.

    And politicians can't figure out why we don't trust them?

    Viva la revolution! Oops That will probably be censored, I mean moderated comrade.

  • Comment number 20.

    The core point is simply one of democracy. At no point did I vote to allow people that I entrust to make laws on my behalf to pass that responsibility on to an unelected third party.

    My parents voted for a free trade agreement, they did not vote for an all controlling, super state.

    It’s the sheer arrogance of Blair, Labour and the EU that astounds me.

    In its first 25 years the EU has issued 23,000 directives and regulations into UK law (a figure greater than the total number of Acts passed by Parliament in the whole of its life) There are around 650 new EU laws each year which bypass our Parliament

    Its not as though I can even vote for the lawn makers at the EU is it. All the commissioners are totally unelected. In fact they just highly paid jobs for the boys.

    I wont do Mandleson I'm still too angry, but just imagine if a country as transparent as the UK picks an individual like Mandleson just how does a country as corrupt as Italy choose theirs.

    Watch this:

  • Comment number 21.

    17. At 1:21pm on 27 Oct 2009, I_Despise_Labour wrote:
    I dont care how many countries have ratified this treaty, Cameron should still be giving us teh promised referendum. This is his one chance to show a marked difference to Labour policy.


    You think it would be a good idea to have an utterly meaningless referendum on a treaty thats already been ratified?

    There's just no arguing with that kind of bloody-mindedness.

    Maybe if the treaty is ratified we could all put our fingers in our ears, shout 'la-la-la' and pretend it hasn't been.

    Because that will be as exactly as effective (and far cheaper) as holding a referendum after the treaty has been ratified.

  • Comment number 22.

    19 don't be silly we aren't comrades. Only the chosen "comrades" get to call each other that. We are just the lowly serf.

  • Comment number 23.

    If the EU wants a "big-hitter" and somebody who can "sprinkle stardust" on the position, as Mrs Marr put it... why not Bono for President? It will have the added bonus of finally putting U2 to pasture. (One can but hope)

  • Comment number 24.

    #18 carrots

    That clip never gets old :)

  • Comment number 25.

    I read a lot of comments on this blog about people being anti EU etc and I wonder why? 60% of our trade is with Europe and if we were to withdraw I would expect that figure to drop. This will lead to worse unemployment than we have now and just think how bad the debt will be. The fact of the matter is that China and the US will become the worlds superpowers in terms of economic activity over the next few decades. A small country like the UK or maybe just England and Wales, if the union breaks, stands no chance on its own. I think we need to live in the now not the 19th century past and engage with Europe.
    David Cameron has boxed himself in politically on this issue and he needs to dig himself out fast. I understand why the desire to become leader made him make promises on Europe, and his partners in the european parliament are pretty questionable characters in my view, but if he wants to be a truely great PM he must put the interests of country above those of the tory party.
    Cameron knows that as PM he will have to engage with Europe, although he won't say so out aloud. He also knows that the Lisbon treaty is a done deal. The sooner he accepts this fact and moves on the better. We are in the worst recession since records began -the important thing is getting the UK economy moving again because this pays our salaries, provides money for the NHS etc. This is more important than some outdated 19th century dream about pound sterling and empire.
    I know a lot of people will disagree with me but our future is in Europe -we had a stay in/leave vote in the 70's its time we moved on and became a leading player in Europe.
    I would like to see a British president of Europe and if not Blair maybe a tory -if we can think of one that is big on the international stage. Maybe Lord Ashcroft he likes living overseas :-)

  • Comment number 26.

    This really is very good.

    And they wonder why we reamin euro sceptic, well they dont actually, they dont give dam because they know we cant vote.

  • Comment number 27.

    What a farce. Just as the Tories get close to winning an election, they blow it again with nonsense about the EU.

    All he needs to say is that we will have a referendum on Europe. Now that the spectre of Blair has been raised most people will vote NO!

    To bleat on about being offended by Blair as President makes him sound like a bullied child, not a potential Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 28.

    Nice to see you back, Nick. It's hard to work out whether it's because there are more mods on duty, or whether you have a limited ration...

    What surprises me is not that Blair may be proposed as a "President", but that there is still no job description for the post.

    You'd have thought that, as Brussels is great at doing detailed law-making, collectively those masses could have already worked out what powers or limitations this Totem should have.

    I can't imagine the EU wanting a High Representative whose country doesn't support the Euro. (OK, Tony may have wanted to get the UK in, but he couldn't make it happen. Strike One.)

    It's hard to imagine the EU sending Blair to negotiate with the Iranians who dislike his perceived attacks on other Islamic nations - whether or not the Iranians liked those nations. (Strike Two.)

    I find it hard to believe that all those EU folk have no idea that the UK population seem to believe that Blair's war in Iraq was based on a lie. And he may be dragged into an inquiry that may, eventually, reveal the extent of the deception. Wouldn't they be a bit worried that he may sneak off and commit them to some other adventure by proxy? (Strike Three.)

    Blair is a good operator, good persuader for a cause. But a very, very poor deliverer of results. Couldn't even stand up to a Minister in his own government (Brown).

    Oh well, maybe that's what they want. Tooth paste kid, with no teeth.

  • Comment number 29.

    The newly created post of an unelected President of Europe would indeed be a huge slap in the face for the millions of Europeans who do not want federalism and have been denied the opportunity of voting one way or another.

    Can anyone imagine the heads of 27 countries being pushed into the background while El Presidente Blair floats around the world representing the whole of Europe. How could he have credibility with the likes of Obama and the other leaders who have actually had to go through the whole of the election process and will continue to do so.

    Perhaps before his appointment the leaders of Europe will have to face up to the war in Afghanistan which of course Blair instigated with Bush as a so called war of the alliances. One of his first tasks as he cosies up to Obama will of course be to ensure that the rest of Europe play a full part in sending more of their own troops to actually fight in this war alongside the British and Americans.

    Perhaps as David Cameron put it this morning there is not the political will to do this as there does not seem to be any political will to do anything that makes sense within the EU as a whole.

    It has ended up as a rag bag of makeshift policies and needs radical reform if it is to survive.

    As Blair and his cronies have already blown the prospects of this country for years to come anyone who thinks he can run a union of 27 countries must be out of their minds. One man alone and especially Blair cannot make something so fragmented seem credible to other leaders across the world.

    There is a world out there to trade with and being restricted by an EU which after all these years still cannot get its act together is a restricting and daunting hindrance for those countries needing to trade their way out of this recession.

  • Comment number 30.

    #19 sircomspect. To some extent I agree with you, however, we in this country have never voted for a prime minister. The PM is the leader of the party with the most seats. Or the leader of the party that organizes a coalition. So I can't fully go with the unelected PM. Perhaps a reminder to Mr Brown that he answers to Parliament and not to the "You Tube" viewing pyschophants may remind hin that this is a monarchy no matter how much he thinks he is President.

  • Comment number 31.

    It seemed not that long ago that David Cameron was gesticulating to his party MPs to give Tony Blair a standing ovation as the ex-PM was departing on his last day in the House of Commons.

    Ken Clarke hit the nail on the head when he said 'the sooner the power of the UK Government is similar to a parish council the better'.

    An integrated EU will see the Euro become the benchmark currency for global trading, overtaking the dollar, and will ensure the only two world wars can never be repeated.

    Is there any example to show the view of the right that isolation is good for business? The quicker we are integrated into the EU the better and what better man at the helm than our very own and distinguished Tony Blair.

  • Comment number 32.

    @23 that actually means we have to listen to him though. And as any south park fan knows, we all know the reason why Bono has to be number 1 in everything he does...

  • Comment number 33.

    One of the arguments put forward in favour of President Blair is that Europe needs a heavyweight figure who can play hardball with countries like Russia to stop them turning off Europe's gas supply.

    Well lets consider Blair's record as a negotiator, this is the man who meekly signed away most of our EU rebate in exchange for a worthless promise to review the CAP which everyone knows will come to absolutely nothing! He also slavishly acquiesed to Bush when he could have put a much higher price on British support for Iraq.

    Oh I'm sure Putin is quaking in his boots at the prospect of having to deal with President Tony!

  • Comment number 34.

    Well, I would have thought a man who was ousted by a terminally weak and incompetent excuse in the UK would have been the perfect person to become the figurehead for the whole of Europe....

  • Comment number 35.

    "tory_bliar wrote:
    Cameron needs to come up with a post-ratification strategy before the election otherwise many Tory supporters (including myself) will be voting UKIP."

    The ironic thing is that if large numbers of Tory voters do turn to UKIP all that will happen is that UK will take votes away from the Tories and New Labour will get back in!

  • Comment number 36.

    @21 taxedintotheground

    Not a believer in democracy then?!! Just because it's been ratified why should that mean that it cant be reversed if the people of this country realise that a single parliament should not have the power to give away our sovereignty?

  • Comment number 37.


    Without Europe, we woudl be able to trade on our terms instead of terms imposed upon us. Would we benefit? Very hard to say, but given the generally accepted consensus on where the true power in Europe lies, it would be logical to assume that we would.

    We are not now and never will be a leading player in Europe, we sacrifice a great deal of our ability to make our own decisions for a few dubious benefits. There is nothing to say that we must be part of a super state to survive, bigger is not always better.

    And this really isn't the worst recession on record. Not by a long shot.

  • Comment number 38.

    Some time next year we will finally get rid of our unelected prime minister.

    Shortly afterwards the EU will give us an unelected president.

    Strong stuff this 'democracy'

  • Comment number 39.

    21. taxedintotheground

    Well actually the one good think about the Treaty is that it introduces an exit clause for members wanting to withdraw from the Union.

    This formalises the procedure by stating that a member state must inform the European Council before it can terminate its membership.

  • Comment number 40.

    It seems that Mr Blair genuinely does want the job and obviously it would completely stymie Mr Cameron's government as Blair in Brussels would have more de facto power than Mr Cameron in London. Very smart and very clever but where does it leave the majority of people who are happy for the EU to be a free trade area but are extremely unhappy about a Federal Europe?
    Sadly, the British people can't be trusted to vote the 'right' way on Lisborn so we won't get a referendum. The prospect of more Tony Blair and this time in a potentially Napoleonic role is simply too ghastly to contemplate.

  • Comment number 41.

    "I_Despise_Labour wrote:
    @21 taxedintotheground

    Not a believer in democracy then?!! Just because it's been ratified why should that mean that it cant be reversed if the people of this country realise that a single parliament should not have the power to give away our sovereignty?"

    Do you also think that we will be able to buy our gold back at the rate Brown sold it for?

    At it's most basic level a deal is a deal - if Labour have signed us up to the treaty and the treaty has passed our options are limited.

  • Comment number 42.

    36. At 1:55pm on 27 Oct 2009, I_Despise_Labour wrote:
    @21 taxedintotheground

    Not a believer in democracy then?!! Just because it's been ratified why should that mean that it cant be reversed if the people of this country realise that a single parliament should not have the power to give away our sovereignty?


    no i just took the trouble to understand the terms of the treaty before commenting about it.

    - once its ratified its pretty much set in stone. Nothing the UK does after that will make the slightest difference

    you'd be far better agitating for a referendum on EU membership, which is what most people actually seem to want.

  • Comment number 43.

    He spoke of the need for "realism not isolationism" and argued that on every decision in Europe, he favoured "co-operation and co-ordination".

    I read that as the classic Tory line "in Europe but not ruled by Europe". Yeah that worked with Ted Heath, the Single European Act and Maastricht didn't it?

    When are our politicians going to wake up to the fact that being in the EU is logically the same as being ruled by them, even more so after Lisbon ratification, which explicitly states that EU rules take precedence over UK ones.

    Or perhaps politicians from the three main parties do know this but are not being honest about it - oh wait that can't be true can it?

  • Comment number 44.

    Any idea what UKIP's position on Bliar for president is?

    Whatever their publicly stated position, I'm sure that, quietly, behind the scenes, they must be desperately hoping and praying that he gets the job. It's hard to imagine a bigger boost for their cause.

  • Comment number 45.

    My personal opinion is against any EU President and definitely not Blair. However, on a more practical aspect, shortly after taking office Blair will be attending hopefully open sessions of the Iraq Enquiry. That combined with many of the families of those killed during the war will bring the issues of both the war and questions about whether Blair lied or misled the UK regarding the case for his war. If Blair is EU President, the enquiry will be reported throughout the EU and the World and will undoubtedly bring Blair and his office (and thus the EU) into disrepute. Of course different countries will reach differently (e.g. the US might not be as concerned whereas others might be more concerned as the truth emerges through the Enquiry). This will have a serious detrimental impact on the standing of the EU throughout the world.

    Then one has to look at the function of the EU President. The function is to act as a point of contact for non-EU countries, to represent the opinions and wishes of the various EU countries. It is not to act as a policy maker driving through the Presidents wishes and what the President thinks should be done. It is a representation role and in the UK we have seen how good Blair is at ignoring the wishes of those he supposedly represents and ploughing on with "what he thinks is right". His character is thus totally inappropriate to such a role.

    Milliband is now insisting we should support a British President to ensure that the UK stays strong in Europe and has somebody representing UK wishes. But that is not the function of the President. Role of the EU President is not to give the country of his nationality a greater say in the EU - and that argument in itself should show other countries how inappropriate Blair is. The EU President should act for all EU countries equally. If the President were to act on behalf of the country of his nationality then it makes a complete joke of the idea of the treaty to give all countries a more equal say in Europe.

    And of course the UK (in Blair's time) is the country that will not join the Euro currency, opted out of so much EU human rights legislation, argues against EU working treaties, etc., etc. Blair is hardy a "pro EU" individual.

    Maybe we should look at his achievements on the world since being pushed out of No 10 - as Middle East envoy. What has happened in Israel/Palestine relations since he took this office. Things seem to have gone from bad to worse. Whilst probably not his fault, he seems to have achieved nothing as the situation deteriorates further.

    Personally I think that, were Blair to be appointed EU President then the UK would not leave the EU. Other countries would throw us out.

    And why do we not get a say in who is appointed to this position. Even in Zimbabwe the people get to vote for who they wish to be President. With our politicians clearly not following the wishes of the people (e.g. so many countries ignoring the results of referendums on the treaty), those same politicians appointing their friend is clearly totally non democratic.

  • Comment number 46.

    It's deeply ironic that the one major party, the Conservatives, that kept to its manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the new European constitution finds itself with a political problem. Yet Labour and the LibDems seem to have been allowed, by the media class, to revoke their manifesto commitment without penalty.

    Once Lisbon is ratified it is logically impossible to hold a referendum on ratifying the treaty, though of course some other EU questions, including but not limited to withdrawal, could be put to the British people.

    Labour and the LibDems are gloating at the thought of UKIP taking votes from the Conservatives at the next election and continuing in power. Indeed I'm sure this was one of the reasons the referendum was denied.

    UKIP-inclined voters should vote Conservative at the General Election. Anything else would reward Labour and the LibDems for reneging on their manifesto commitment, and no doubt further embolden the euro-federalists.

  • Comment number 47.

    So it could be Boney Blair and Cherie Antoinette........pleeease would be too too too much to bear........

  • Comment number 48.

    Blair has the support of S Berlusconi. That says it all!!!
    All we need is the dodgy lord to get involved and the trilogy will be complete!!!

    What about Prescott for President , at least we would have a laugh!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Isn't it about time that a list of all the reasons people hate the EU were published in one place so this debate can be concluded once and for all, because if it's worth going in arguments to counter them will prevail, won't they?

    And then someone should be made to list the flows of cash FROM the EU to the UK so we know what the true, net contributions of different regions of the UK are.

    Who would the big losers be if we went into the Euro? And who would win??

    I do think though that the current system of Commissioners is unsatisfactory. When the influence was smaller, perhaps. But now? Those posts need either to be fixed-term appointed by an elected President or they must be selected from the body of MEPs.

  • Comment number 50.

    Cameron should say he would take us out of the EU when elected if he is not able to renegotiate the treaty that was signed under the guise of the slight of hand by Labour. He'd get a landslide and the EU would be absolutely bashing the door down to get in favour with the UK. That would give us a greater role in Europe and would tell them we won't put up with their rubbish.

    Come on Dave - do it!

  • Comment number 51.

    I don't know why you are all talking about this. The Chair of the European Council (the Heads of Government meeting) and the Chair's office ( President= Chairperson the Eurospeak and the office is call a cabinet...) only serves for two and a half years and is supposed to enable the 'summit' meeting to work better (So no motorcade, no inaugural, no first lady or first gentleman, no pictures of the first family. TB says he doesn't want this fixing type of job and HoGs would not want to be upstaged by 'President Blair' The guy for the job is Peter Mandelson.or if they want a Tory Chris Patten both right leaning progressives both experienced fixers. Just for the record the E Council has been having meetings without any legal form for years. The Treaty give it legal form

    If the Cameroon cannot come up with an acceptable policy the skeptics will all vote UKIP or even BNP.

    Gordie is safe.

  • Comment number 52.

    42. taxedintotheground

    Well you didn’t read past Article 50:

    Article 50 TEU
    1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
    2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
    3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
    4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
    A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
    5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

  • Comment number 53.

    re carrots (50) Yes we can leave. Does anyone believe (believe that is not wish) that the Cameroon will leave the EU? No referendum is needed for this since it is a prerogative matter. but of course lots of legislation will follow. As far I can see you don't need the European Councils permission.

    May 10th 2010

    Dear Tony,

    just to say the UK is leaving next week.

    Best wishes.


  • Comment number 54.

    I wonder how many of the other 250million odd EU residents appreciate how lucky they are that the "elite" are busy stitcching them up with unelected representatives, or wasn't this part of the constitution/treaty? How many of them would relish the opportunity to "vote" for Bliar? Or, doesn't he relish the idea of testing the "court of pubic opinion", and no, it isn't a typo.

  • Comment number 55.

    #25 Wirralwesleyan:

    It's all well and good to say we should move on, but the simple fact is that on the continually closer political union of Europe the people of this conutry have not been given any say, despite a clear manifesto promise by Tony Blair in 2005. Maybe we are starting to see now why the promised referendum was not delivered. You simply cannot dragoon people into a political union against their wishes without serious political consequences, up to and including social disorder. We have had a warning already with the rise in support for the BNP. At some point the festering boil on the British body politic has got to be lanced or we will all pay a very heavy price.

    If political union with Europe is such a good idea for this country, why are its proponents not willing to engage in public discussion on the subject, outline what they see as the benefits, and then, after those on the other side of the argument have had their say too, trust the electorate to make the decision; that is how democracy is supposed to work. It is ironic in the extreme that we are deploying British soldiers to risk their lives in Afghanistan to install democracy there whilst denying it to the British people here at home.

    Cameron will have to find a way of squaring the circle if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified before our general election, whoever is installed as "president". Unless he can satisfy the millions of embittered and disenfranchised electors with a concrete promise that they will get a democratic say on the European union, he can kiss goodbye to their votes which will leach away to UKIP, or worse still the BNP. Either way it may result in a hung parliament, or even (whisper it very quietly) another term for Labour. The British public were betrayed by Blair in 2005 over the referendum - millions of votes are there to be harvested by the Tories, simply by behaving in a proper democratic manner and giving the people their say on Europe at the ballot box. It is their country after all. Simply trying to fudge the issue will no longer work, and if he does, then frankly he deserves to lose.

  • Comment number 56.

    8. At 2:17pm on 27 Oct 2009, brownnothankyou wrote:
    Blair has the support of S Berlusconi. That says it all!!!
    All we need is the dodgy lord to get involved and the trilogy will be complete!!!

    What about Prescott for President , at least we would have a laugh!!!


    And maybe Blair and Berlusconi's friend David Mills could be drafted in to sign off the EU accounts for the first time in 14 years.

    He's a bit of a whiz with the old numbers, according to Berlusconi.

  • Comment number 57.

    hi Nick ... He (Mortimax) spoke of the need for "realism not isolationism" and argued that on every decision in Europe, he favoured "co-operation and co-ordination"

    good on you, David

    sounding a bit like a proper "PM in Waiting" with that

  • Comment number 58.

    With regard to this whole Lisbon treaty thing, why should the ratification be the end of the process? After all, when the Irish voted NO, they were told to think about it and vote again. Precedent has been established. I think that the next government of the UK should promise to hold a ratification of the ratification referendum, and if that doesn't produce the right answer, keep holding one until it does.

    if it works for them, why shouldn't it work for us?

  • Comment number 59.

    Speaking as a lifelong Tory voter, Cameron will have lost my vote at the next election unless he comes 'clean' on the EU and our position with regards the new constitution - after all, that's what this really is. The ONLY possible option for someone in my position, a rabid anti-EU phobic is with UKIP.

    And I think I am not alone. If it opens the way for Brown to have another 5 years, God forbid, at least I know I kept to some kind of principle and that Brown can be at the helm when either he has to make massive public sector cuts or the IMF do it for him.

    There's always a silver lining!

  • Comment number 60.

    52. At 2:24pm on 27 Oct 2009, CarrotsneedaQUANGO2 wrote:
    42. taxedintotheground

    Well you didn’t read past Article 50:



    now explain to me what that has to do with the UK holding a referendum on the treaty after its been ratified...

  • Comment number 61.

    Whether the treaty is ratified or not, has long since passed in importance.

    Whoever becomes the new president of europe will be laughed at worldwide as not having been given the mandate of the people of europe to represent them.

    The problem is its another layer of unaccountable politicians,who will milk the system for every penny they can wring out of it.

    I was pro europe in the 1970's but didnt foresee the virus that has been created,and how it would infect us all.

  • Comment number 62.

    carrots @ 18

    William Hague sums it all up rather well

    if that's what I think it is, it's a fabulous piece of comedy! (it really is too)

    why do you think I call them the Clowns?

  • Comment number 63.

    It was only a matter of time before the intellectual level of this thread was brought down. welcome comrades.

    On a non-party political basis, is anybody seriosuly suggesting that only one person is suitable to hold the post of un-elected president of the USE? Is there nobody in Lithuania, Poland, Malta or Greece who would be better qualified than Bliar? is there?

  • Comment number 64.

    53. At 2:30pm on 27 Oct 2009, cping500 wrote:

    May 10th 2010

    Dear Tony,

    just to say the UK is leaving next week.

    Best wishes.


    Just to play devils advocate (as previously stated i am pro-EU but recognise the depth of burearocracy in its current form)

    `Dear Dave,

    sorry to hear you wish to terminate the relationship.

    Please find enclosed a list of items and moneys which we have contributed to the union through the course of the marrriage.

    Please let us know when you will be able to return these goods or how you are going to financially compensate us for them.

    I understand that feel you may have contributed more to the relationship than you have received. If this is the case please have your lawyers contact our lawyers.

    Thinking of you,


  • Comment number 65.

    #64 Mr Caesar,

    I suspect, if you check deeply enough, that you will find that we have paid in a lot more than we've got out of the EU, and I also suspect that we might be buying more from them than they buy from us, and I also suspect that their fishing fleets (El Fishing veseels from Espana) might just be removing more fish from our waters (in the name of the common fishing policy) than our ships do. In short, we will be better off out than in, by any means of measurement that you choose.

  • Comment number 66.

    Cameron appears to be speaking some sense at last. Thanks to the coward Brown signing up to the treaty, Cameron's hands will be tied and a referendum will be a waste of tax payers time and money.

    Hopefully, the crowning of 'President' Blair won't happen before the next UK election and if the Tories win, it will never happen.

  • Comment number 67.

    Hello, what's happened here Nick?

    Have you found a topic that doesn't generate lots of comment from your attentive bloggers?
    Are they all on half term?
    Do they find themselves uncomfrtable with the subject, since they might be sees as supportive of Bliar, or at least supportive of an undemocratic movement to foist him, not just on us, but on the whole of europe as an unelected president?

  • Comment number 68.

    65. At 3:11pm on 27 Oct 2009, U14147588 wrote:
    #64 Mr Caesar,

    I suspect, if you check deeply enough, that you will find that we have paid in a lot more than we've got out of the EU, and I also suspect that we might be buying more from them than they buy from us, and I also suspect that their fishing fleets (El Fishing veseels from Espana) might just be removing more fish from our waters (in the name of the common fishing policy) than our ships do. In short, we will be better off out than in, by any means of measurement that you choose.


    i wasn't actually trying to imply otherwise.

    I was trying to portray a future scenario whereby The EU treat britains departure like a messy divorce and brings in the lawyers to try get as much out of us as they possibly can by way of a settlement.



  • Comment number 69.

    surely....if the irish had concessions in order to get the treaty yes vote,and el gordo (he with the grin that behaves like a tick) signed the treaty b/4 this change then the uk should have to review the treaty again (all for 1 and 1 for all) otherwise what is there to stop the czech republic (say) getting an opt out of EU budgetary contributions or the Germans (signs are there to stop you getting run over by our vehicles) for that matter.

  • Comment number 70.

    "sagamix wrote:

    why do you think I call them the Clowns?"

    Because you are blindly biased and think you are being clever?

  • Comment number 71.

    To have a someone with a uk perspective as president would only be good for the country.
    Elected or unelected it does not really matter as long as the country gets going again.

  • Comment number 72.


    Well, working and soon to be living in Europe full time anyway, I cant say I really give a fig any more.

    The interesting thing to watch from this side of La Manche is whether when the reality sinks in and things start being controlled from over here is whether it is going to be enough to finally rouse the electorate from their apathetic stupour that they have been in for the last 10 years.

    This is what voter apathy gets you. Not an awful lot of sympathy, I'm afraid.

    To those who are bothered about it, you may find your ire would be better taken out on your local MP than on here. Let him or her know how you feel. Give them the GBH of the earholes. Dont give them a moments rest. Get down to their surgeries and give 'em what for. Thats what they're there for. If they wont come to you, you go to them.

    If enough of you do it and play your part, who knows where it might get you.

    Oh and Nick:

    You go missing for the best part of a week, the postal service is falling to bits, the Government back-track on the TA, theres the Neather question, the growth figures caught everyone by surprise, Gordon says theres less than 50 days to save the world - and this is the best you can do?

    Wheres Laura when you need her?

  • Comment number 73.

    "U14147588 wrote:
    #64 Mr Caesar,

    In short, we will be better off out than in, by any means of measurement that you choose."

    We MAY be better off out than in - however if the treaty does pass into law we can't just take our ball and go home we will have to negotiate the way we leave, and the negotiations are unlikely to go in our favour.

    UKIP probably won't explain this as it would seriously cost them votes (being that they are a single issue party).

    We could end up out of the EU but still actually paying for it and hence getting all the negatives and none of the positives (and yes there are many) that comes from membership.

  • Comment number 74.

    Spent a few days in Brussels over Easter on a study tour looking at various aspects of the European Commission and the European Parliament.
    I didn't get to meet any MEPs (all on a holiday break) but the officials we met certainly seemed to know their stuff.
    I got the impression, that any potential president from the UK with a dodgy history might not be welcomed with open arms by everyone! I think that no-one wants a repeat of the 'Italian situation' too close to the centre of European power!
    Would replacing a house roof with public monies plus the destruction of evidence of dodgy 'expenses' claims just weeks before resigning fall into this category.
    As a taxpaying citizen voter of the UK and the EU, I would suggest that Blair be overlooked this time around...... at least until we find out exactly how many MPs (past and present) are going to be doing porridge when the Fraud Act 2006 is finally put into operation!.......
    Or can an EU president operate effectively from behind a locked cell door?......
    And anyway....... would the support of ANYONE from this UK Fraudsters' Parliament be ANY recommendation for a post in Europe!

  • Comment number 75.

    Interesting comment - David Cameron has found a third way on Europe for the Tories - and it may enable him to neutralise the difficult position he and the comments of Boris and William Hague have got him into. As many of the saner contributors have pointed out we have a vested interest in, and need to be leading from the heart of Europe. However as many of the manic right (many of whose gibbering you can read on this page) will not be satisfied unless there is a referendum. If enough of these defect to UKIP he may not win the majority he needs.

    His biggest mistake was in posturing and trying to make political capital on Europe. Anyone with any sanity knows we need to be in there influencing it with the massive agendas on climate change, the Middle East and relations with the BRIC countries let alone security and banking regulation. All his 'one policy at a time' on Europe and the referendum has done is make it look like as if he is indecisive and led by events. So rather than being seen as a little Englander - he looks more like the village idiot.

    It will eventually be a difficult lesson but he will learn that if you are a leader you will make yourself unpopular. Unless he is scared of saying how anti European he is.

  • Comment number 76.

    #71 dear old departed soul singer
    Don't, on any account, hold your breath whilst waiting for your aspirations to transpire. If you are already holding your breath, please, I implore you, start breathing again before its too late.

    I can't help feeling that we are all being softened up for something much worse than Bliar as EU president, and that Sarkozy is going to leap out on us, going "Surprise"

  • Comment number 77.

    3. At 12:42pm on 27 Oct 2009, Exiledscot52 wrote:

    "I think that an unelected el Presidente would be a bad thing as well.

    To acclaim Tony Blair to this position would be a travesty, he walked away from British politics, took a position promising to change the Middle East"

    Did you not notice the Iraq war? Tony sure helped change the middle east!

    Taking my tongue out of my cheek its unreasonable to accuse Blair of somehow 'failing' because the Israelis and Palestinians aren't holding hands singing 'Imagine'. Neither side seem to have any real interest in making peace as this would require some sort of compromise. If Blair COULD solve the Arab-Israeli conflict he'd deserve to be made unelected President of the World because it would be a miracle on a par with rising from the dead.

  • Comment number 78.

    As I understand it the reason why Ireland had a referendum was that their constitution demanded it. Could Cameron once elected pass legislation (perhaps as part of the Human Rights Act) that any future EU Treaty would require the agreement of the British people - I'm not a lawyer but I'm sure something could be worked out.

    This would get him out of having a meaningless referendum but he could state categorically that he has "drawn a line in the sand" for the future. It would get my vote because one of my complaints has been that each and every EU agreement has been sold as the last and has turned out to be only the next stage.

  • Comment number 79.

    MWE @ 70

    because you think you are being clever?

    somebody has to be, Mark ... doesn't bother you too much, does it?

  • Comment number 80.

    We held a referendum in 1975/6 on the EU or whatever it was called then. I suppose that nothing in the Lisbon Treaty precludes the UK holding another one? Also if the Irish and the Czech have made alterations to the treaty does this mean it is now different from the one that GB sneakily signed on our behalf? If it is can we declare it null and void?

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm unclear will David Cameron call for a referendum on the Lisbon treaty?

    If he is elected will he have a referendum?

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm absolute flabbergsated that Tony Blair would even be considered for the job of President of Europe! Where were the powers that be when Blair connived his way through two stints as Prime Minister of Great Britain - do they not see the long term damage he has done to this country? Do they not see how he has de-stabalised peace throughout the world? Do they not see that he proved to be a wolf in sheeps clothing, only interested in promoting himself?

    Surely the President of Europe (what a depressing thought that is!)should be above reproach. Em.....that's going to be difficult, but Tony Blair should not be in the running

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm just a little concerned about seeking the deeper meaning of the word "rat-ify" but that looks like what this great morass of people - politicians and their groupies are doing: giving us over to the rats.

  • Comment number 84.


    Difficult to rerally understand your proposition. I accept it will require negotiation, but we are in a striong position becuase we are NOT in the euro, so our domestic finances (appalling as they may be) are ours, and we don't have to suffer the complications of re-instating our own national currency.

    It's fairly simple - we stop paying. We are immediately better off. We re-establish control over our own coaastal waters, and don't issue fishing licence to what are now foreign fleets. We are immediatley better off. We can have a stronger (not difficult to imagine) border control, particularly at the channel ports, throwing the illegal immigrant problem firmly into the EU court.

  • Comment number 85.

    There is a simple way to deal with any ratified treaty. Just tear it up and ignore it. And, yes we can, especially if the ECA is repealed at the same time as the Humans Rights Act. What are the EU going to do? Send storm troopers along the Channel Tunnel? And no, they cannot afford to impose sanctions either. We are just too used to being lead by a bunch of spineless self-servers.

  • Comment number 86.

    #72 What back track on the TA? One drill night a month in order to save a poxy £20Million (slightly less than 1 mile of widening the M1) rather than no drill nights for 6 months is effectively the same nonsense. Its not so much a back track as a minor token.

    My great-grandfather was TA in 1914 and went off to France with 800 comrades. He came back in 1919 with 2 of them still alive. My grandfather was TA until called up to the regular army and sent off to El Alamein and the invasion of Sicily, my father a TA doctor and served on Canberra in the Falklands and in Kuwait in the '91 Gulf war. I served as a radio operator in a TA medium armoured recon regt. and spent 5 months in Croatia in 1996.

    I quit soon after coming back... I was sent out with no body armour whatsoever, with a defective rifle that jammed if I put more than 27 rounds in a 30 round magazine to operate radios that were effectively line of sight in a heavily mountainous country and with a fraction of the training I needed. That was with John Major in no 10 so this is hardly a new problem.

    Virtually all our army specialists, especially medical and engineering are TA. WE HAVE NO REGULAR ARMY DOCTORS ANY MORE. Giving someone 2 hours a month training as preparation for maybe going to war is damn near murder. The govts decision is contemptable but I haven't heard Cameron or Clegg screaming abuse about it either.

  • Comment number 87.

    #78 "As I understand it the reason why Ireland had a referendum was that their constitution demanded it. Could Cameron once elected pass legislation (perhaps as part of the Human Rights Act) that any future EU Treaty would require the agreement of the British people - I'm not a lawyer but I'm sure something could be worked out."

    That would be utter madness for a politician to try and pass. English law works on precident so if he somehow passed a law (ignoring the fact that EU law supercedes national law) saying we needed a referendum on a major policy decision it would lead to a mass of law suits demanding that every major policy decision be put to referendum. Much as I like the idea of Athentian style democracy a referendum a day would get very tedious and very expensive.

  • Comment number 88.

    81. At 3:55pm on 27 Oct 2009, balancedthought wrote:
    I'm unclear


    Could have just left it at that.

  • Comment number 89.

    #33 JPSLotus79

    Yes Teflon Tony who in 2005 signed away our budget rebate when he increased our net contribution to Brussels from £2.8bn to £4.1bn?

    When the deal was done Teflon Tony claimed that the extra lolly was in return for reform of the CAP. But it soon became clear that there was to be no such reform, the French and German leaders had met a few weeks before the budget deal and agreed a slight increase in farm spending, from 40 to 44 per cent of the total budget.

    Yep let’s make Teflon Tony ‘El Presidente’ and commensurate with his new position he can wear the inaugural robes of a jester. After all he was a joke in the UK.

    Next year whilst we the public are struggling under a massive mountain of debt a place in EU will cost the UK 60% more next year.

    An increase of £23bn from £4.1bn - 6.4bn.

  • Comment number 90.

    U14147588 wrote about not granting fishing licenses.....

    Great but we don't have any ships to enforce them.....

    Blair and Brown have sent them all to the gulf!!!!

    Better still I don't think we have any AWACS type capability to spot them from the air either.

  • Comment number 91.

    Nick you should mention Labour's multi-cultural experiment to let in masses of migrants under Blair, how strange there is no mention of it by the Labour bias BBC ???

  • Comment number 92.

    Must have said something contentious or complicated in post 76.

  • Comment number 93.

    #19 sircomespect: "Blair pretty much created the role with the full knowledge that he intended to become this entity.

    There is no doubt about that."

    This is I think the third time I have seen this statement of 'fact'. Do you, or indeed anybody else on here, have any evidence to support it? It is bad enough seeing the floods of one-eyed opinion that dominates this blog without having to put up with the wildest conspiracy theory masquerading as 'fact'.

  • Comment number 94.

    sagamix 57 and 62

    "why do you think I call them the Clowns?"

    Well, you, saga, call them the clowns because you hope that a bit of name-calling will get you some propagandist advantage. You are wrong, of course, but that's why you do it.

    I see you aluding to "Mortimax" again. That's something you should drop. You lost that argument, remember?

    More generally, it is always worth remembering that on Europe, there are two imposrtant facts. One is our payments imbalance, which is about £5bn per year, as far as I recall. The other is our trade deficit with Europe, which is about £30bn per year. Therefore, not only do we pay more than average for the functioning of the EU, but we provide more of a market for EU production than they do for our production. In short, they need us, at least as much as we need them.

    In consequence, when Cameron chooses to grasp the nettle and negotiate with Europe for repatriation of powers back to the UK, he will do so from a position of considerable strength. There is already some anecdotal evidence that Hague's campaign against Blair's presidency has gained useful ground. If the campaign actually wins and Blair is sent packing, then that will be an interesting foretaste of what is to come.

    My own view is that the EU has the potential to be advantageous to us, but that can only be achieved by pushing it back to being, broadly, a free trade area, rather than accepting the march towards a superstate. If the Tories can show intent to negotiate and, if necessary, bully and shove, to get Europe back to where we need it to be, (rather than continuing Labour's uniformly weak and unsuccessful approach) then I foresee UKIP-style Europhobia becomming a thing of the past.

  • Comment number 95.

    #75 balanced_thought wrote:
    "Many of the manic right will not be satisfied unless there is a referendum"

    Presumably the manic right include the writers of the Labour and LibDem election manifestos.

    I'm not sure that the EU is a left/right issue. The opposition to the Common Market in the original referendum was led by Enoch Powell and Michael Foot on the right and left respectively.

    Actually I would vote against the Lisbon Treaty, but against withdrawing from the EU. I doubt that the 'Out' vote would win a majority of votes in a referendum because moderate euro-sceptics would huff and puff, and then vote to stay in.

    I think the Conservative Party will find a third way once Lisbon is ratified. Possibly we will be given a written constitution. The unwritten one makes it too easy for the likes of Blair and Mandeleson to disregard it.

  • Comment number 96.

    "sagamix wrote:
    MWE @ 70

    because you think you are being clever?

    somebody has to be, Mark ... doesn't bother you too much, does it?"

    I am sure that you would agree that there is a big difference between thinking you are clever and actually being clever Saga!

    It annoys me a little as you generally come out with some valid points so when you resort to calling the Tories "clowns" or Cameron "Mortimax" it just seems a bit cheap - especially when there are few enough people on here willing to defend New Labour regardless of how bad things get.

  • Comment number 97.


    60% of our trade may be with Europe but 80% of our imports are from there giving a massive balance of payments deficit approaching 60 billion a year. This is the real cost to us of membership. Also a large proportion of the 60% is financial and insurance services, not manufactured goods etc.

    Our politicians should get us more bang for our bucks rather than tamely accede to every demand.

  • Comment number 98.

    There seems to be this ridiculous idea among our politicians that we should back Blair purely because he's British, which is a typically provincial, short-sighted attitude. The role itself is a disaster, because there's absolutely no way any senior politician is going to be happy with a purely chairman-style role, so power is slowly but surely going to ebb away from the sovereign states and towards Brussels. But if we must have someone in the role, we most certainly do not want a lying, warmongering megalomaniac who has a proven track record for doing anything he can to add to his "legacy".

    I don't know, it seems the political elite just decide what they want and go ahead with it, and there's nothing we can do about it. Surely no person of sound mind would want Tony Blair anywhere near any role of significant influence, so he certainly wouldn't be a popular choice. Then again, with the attitudes held by a lot of people in this country, a murderer would probably be more popular than a German or French candidate. The Swedes know what they're doing when it comes to politics - let's put them in charge.

    Tony Blair ruling the EU - the very notion makes me fear for the survival of the human race, it really does.

  • Comment number 99.

    4. At 12:47pm on 27 Oct 2009, djlazarus wrote:

    " ....

    It's not Cameron's fault per se, he's just wising up to the reality that NuLabour haven't left us with a choice."

    SB2: Don't agree. It is never too late. It will just become more obvious that we have to leave if Blair or somebody like him is Lord of the European flies.

  • Comment number 100.

    Tony Blair ... he's become such an unpopular figure, hasn't he? - absolutely nobody bar one or two New Labour die hards wants him to become the President of Europe - and no wonder

    just think about it:

    - the man who hijacked Labour and, togther with his careerist cronies, took that noble party so far from its socialist roots as to become unrecognisable

    - the man who struck a deal with Gordon Brown which he didn't have to and then allowed him to range unchallenged over economic and domestic policy to the detriment of all of us

    - the man who got so carried away with his success in Northern Irelend that he thought he could singlehandedly solve every problem on the face of the earth

    - the man who, because of the above, bullied and cajoled us into an ill advised junior (to America) invader of Iraq role which has led to hundreds of brave British soldiers being killed and maimed for no particular reason that anyone can see


    but you know what? I forgive him all of that because of one thing he did; one thing he did that was truly unforgettable - 1st May 1997 - that demolition of the Tories - sure, they'd have won anyway but the sheer "exterminate the clowns" scale of it! ... that was Tony

    I was present (well of course I was!) for the birth of my first child but as a life enhancing "connect me with the Gods" experience, it wasn't even close

    First of May, year of our Lord one nine nine seven:

    the best night of my life bar none

    Thank you Mr Blair, and good luck in your new job


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