Thursday, 19 November 2009

Tony Blair loses EU President job but dodges a bullet

So, Tony Blair hasn't been chosen as first EU President and the job has gone to the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy.

Although the former PM hadn't officially thrown his hat into the ring, he had clearly given serious thought to the role.

The news that he has been 'overlooked' is welcome, as his profile and influence would immediately been greater than most of the Prime and First Ministers in the EU countries, all of which are elected.

Furthermore, there's no denying that his role in the Iraq war would also have helped far right parties across Europe promote an anti-EU agenda, especially in the UK with the BNP. UKIP would also have benefited, although they are of course not an extremist party in that sense, so this is merely a comment about the effect on Labour votes at council and marginal seat level.

A Blair presidency would also have given David Cameron a chance to unite both sides of his party in an area much closer to the Tories' natural right - this could have provided him with a massive boost on the one area that still genuinely worries the Conservative leader.

So, the man who can breathe a sigh of release is Gordon Brown, especially given the new prominent role of Lord Ashton - a Brown favourite.

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