Can the Tories black-ball Blair?

Can the Tories black-ball Blair?

Will Hague’s opposition thwart Tone’s EU hopes?

With just one country left to ratify the Lisbon treaty we are getting closer to the moment when the EU will be appointing the first President of the EU council who is likely to become referred to as the President of Europe.

The big question, and there’ quite a bit of betting on this, is who is going to get it? Can Tony Blair, Labour’s star three-times election winner who was ousted to make way for Brown be the right man? There are many who think so and certainly PaddyPower and Ladbrokes make him the favourite.

But before punters act take a look at from the Observer by Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform highlighted by the Spectator Coffee House blog.

“..Yet it may be the Conservatives who spike Blair’s chances of getting the job. William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, has told the other EU governments that the Conservatives would see support for a Blair presidency as a “hostile act”.

A week ago, Blair was the clear favourite, with the likely support of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, plus several of the smaller countries. But on my travels around Europe last week, I have found that Hague’s comments have made a huge impact…A number of prime ministers are unwilling to take a step that would incur the wrath of an incoming Conservative government. President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel remain supporters of Blair, but are now hesitating over backing a man with so many opponents.

The Conservatives may have achieved their first diplomatic coup in Europe, even before taking office.”

For one of the challenges at the fag end of a parliament is that the perception of what’s going to happen is very much shaped by opinion polls leading to individuals and organisations adjusting their positions accordingly.

Brown’s Labour is seen as the loser and the people to deal with are Cameron’s Tories.

If this indeed is what happens the EU is going to have to a deal with a much more hostile government in London. Why take decisions now that could make the position even worse?

Mike Smithson

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