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Thread: President Blair?

  1. #1

    Default President Blair?

    So, you may have heard that there is quite a lot of serious consideration and talk about Tony Blair becoming the first President of the European Council when the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, making him the first de facto president of the EU. If you haven't you can read up on the story here.

    I'm sure that the story is overstated in the British press but he does have a lot of support and significant friendships and ties where it counts. Berlusconi will support him (whether that's a good thing or not) as, I think, will Sarkozy even if he has to sound some cautious notes and be clever about it. Obviously he can count on the current British government's support if not the next one, as well as that of the Irish. The clincher will be getting Merkel's support but I feel that could come, even if only through gritted teeth, as it looks like the choice is shaping up as a grandstanding figurehead for a strong Europe with, as David Miliband puts it, 'motorcade factor' in Blair or a chairman figure with far less international presence, like Finland's Paavo Lipponen.

    I think the more influential nations of Europe, including the governments of Sarkozy and Merkel, will want the former in light of shifting power dynamics in the world and the desire to maintain Europe's relevance and develop it's diplomatic and political strength under a charismatic and well-known figure on the world scene. There's opposition, of course, but I doubt that the likes of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg will be able to resist the political will of Germany, France, Britain and Italy.

    So, would Blair as president be a good idea if it were to happen? I should think that most Britons positively shudder at the idea; he is not a popular figure here and, speaking personally, I regard his premiership as characterised by a litany of disappointments, deceptions and false dawns. He is also tainted by Iraq, of course. I can, though, see the arguments for him. Although the way the Lisbon Treaty has been handled is frankly scandalous and the utter failure of our politicians to engage with and convince the people of the Europe of the importance of a strong, reformed EU is disappointing, I do strongly support the idea of the EU if not how it has been handled. If the countries of Europe want to be internationally relevant, and I think that they should because Europe can serve as a vital counterpoint to American and Chinese dominance, then a figurehead with the attributes of Blair will prove useful.

    Blair as an executive or legislative force in the EU doesn't sit particularly well but, despite my reservations for his politics, Blair as a global ambassador for Europe could prove effective and he is an immensely skilled politician. He is a name that is familiar with both the people of the world and those in an authority to a far greater extent than the other candidates and is guaranteed to be listened to and have access in a way that few others are. The further strengthening and integration of the EU is inevitable and is the only way for a region half a billion strong and the largest economy in the world to represent the interests of its people effectively on the world stage as the relative significance of individual European nations wanes in comparison to the new rising powers. I would be far more comfortable if reform in Europe had come through a greater mandate and included more democratic accountability, but as we are I almost find myself thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, President Blair may not be such a bad thing.

    Saying all that I find the man personally insufferable and will quite probably look back a year into a Blair presidency and wonder how on earth I could ever have thought it might have been a good idea. Still, regarding both the likelihood of it and how it would play, what do you reckon?

  2. #2

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    hehe so the national borders of ghost in the shell begin slowly..

    apparently though blair showed some skill in helping settle 'the troubles' in north ireland. so...yeah me, personally, yeah i ccant see a better candidate to my personal knowledge

  3. #3

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    On the topic I always say these two things:

    1) There's a lot fear-mongering about the idea of a President. I don't really believe that a 'President of the European Council' will really have all the power you'd think he would, given some people's reaction. (Also, you always hear 'President of Europe', rarely 'President of the European Council').

    2) With that said, I'm still against the idea and...

    -Shock!-


    ... I actually side with the Tories on this one. Europe as a collection of countries working together is a good thing, but as a massive state like America... not so much! And having a President is a step (and a step too far) towards this picture.

    So I'd rather have no President! And as far as Presidents go, I do not want Blair!
    I despise the Labour party, I despise Blair, and I don't want him as some figurehead for Europe... let alone anything else!

  4. #4

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    What reason does Europe have to try and unify. Many European countries are powerful enough on a world scale without the hindrances of the lesser ones. Plus i don't think a unified Europe would work out because the different countries have different needs. I mean look at how the U.S. has turned out. I am not sure that the goal is really to unify Europe but it seems so to me.

    It looks like we are one step closer to having a global government, and then utter disaster.

  5. #5

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    Hm. Kind of thought a few more people might be interested in the topic. Oh well.



    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie F View Post
    ... I actually side with the Tories on this one. Europe as a collection of countries working together is a good thing, but as a massive state like America... not so much! And having a President is a step (and a step too far) towards this picture.

    So I'd rather have no President! And as far as Presidents go, I do not want Blair!
    I despise the Labour party, I despise Blair, and I don't want him as some figurehead for Europe... let alone anything else!
    The problem is that the EU as is has an awful lot wrong with it. The problems are largely technical and structural but that leads to a serious deficit of accountability and people understandably resent this rather arcane and bureaucratic organisation wielding power without responsibility to them. There are elections for the European parliament, sure, but with very little visibility and so much goes on in Brussels and Strasbourg that affects Europeans without enough consultation, coverage or public backing. The thing needs reform then, and I tend to think that having a figurehead will have to be part of that because people respond to and recognise individuals far better than they do parties or parliaments or organisations. The manner we are arriving at this president is less than ideal - I would like to see one promoted through the parliament with a mandate - but I do think the concept is sound. We aren't moving towards a United States of Europe any time soon but the EU is going to have to be better run and connect more with its people because it is a vital structure. Having a president of the council can be helpful in that.



    Quote Originally Posted by baconbit View Post
    What reason does Europe have to try and unify. Many European countries are powerful enough on a world scale without the hindrances of the lesser ones. Plus i don't think a unified Europe would work out because the different countries have different needs. I mean look at how the U.S. has turned out. I am not sure that the goal is really to unify Europe but it seems so to me.

    It looks like we are one step closer to having a global government, and then utter disaster.
    The EU is in the interest of its member states precisely because so many European countries share so many interests and needs and are interdependent. As an economic zone it has done wonders for the East which in turn brings new revenue to the West, and promoted unprecedented security. It's worth remembering that Europe was at war with itself for thousands of years; coming together as a union to protect common interests and act co-operatively rather than competitively has been a big part of the peace over the last half century or so.

    As for a world government, without opening too big a can of worms and while I agree that it isn't a good idea, there are an awful lot of issues that play out on an extra-national level today which affect all of us greatly and are beyond the remit of nation states and are so decided upon without any democratic process or conceit or representativeness. There are so many actors in the post-globalisation age that our structure of governance, built in a different era after the second world war, is not equipped to deal with. Isolationism is dead and more appropriate forums for representation and regulation of those things that go beyond old borders would be conducive. That is supposed to be what the UN is for but, well, that's a structure that craves reform even more than the EU.

  6. #6

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    here's what i know:
    don't trust the Thinglish (you know who i mean: the 'english' lap-dogs of the norman-french);
    don't trust those without regional accents (as before);
    don't trust the rich (as before the first before and, there's only two kinds of rich people: those are lucky and those who are ****s)

    ergo, don't trust Blarney Blair.
    and, as they say in Germany, vive la difference!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie F View Post
    1) There's a lot fear-mongering about the idea of a President. I don't really believe that a 'President of the European Council' will really have all the power you'd think he would, given some people's reaction. (Also, you always hear 'President of Europe', rarely 'President of the European Council').
    The problem is that the position has not really been defined and has no boundaries. What could start as the President of the European Council could easily evolve into a fully fledged President of Europe with powers akin to that of the US President.

    More frustrating is this is an unelected position, much like a lot of what goes on in Brussels. Even with the MEPs you may vote for, thinking they represent you in Europe, they actually represent a party in Europe you probably have never heard of or would actually vote for if you realised what their policies are.

    It's a slow erosion of state individuality and power into a United States of Europe ultimately. However this USoE will be such a bureaucratic mess, and not to mention an economic one too with such a wide variety of economies, especially with the rather poor nations now being admitted into the EU (which instantly opened the floodgates for workers to migrate to the UK where they get free health care, benefits and relatively good pay for crummy jobs, despite there being no space for them).

    As for Blair. It's a doubled edged sword. He's actually perfect for a presidential role. Has the style and charm that none of the other potentials have. Would be a good ambassador. However for a man in power he has a terrible reputation for bad decisions (war in Iraq, siding with Bush, the state of the NHS in the UK, the economic mess of the UK which is looking to be the worst off in the world from this recession, etc). Personally I'm no fan of Labour anyway also.

    What affiliation would this president have also? Would they be independent of any party or would they be aligned with a particular party, like the US President is?


    No, it's wrong. As is the fact the UK has "signed up" for the Lisbon treaty which is just the formerly rejected EU constitution rebranded, without the referendum that we were promised (denied to us because it's now "a treaty", yet still changes the fundamental constitution of the UK).

    We need to be out of Europe, but a good trading partner with it. Blair can be President if he wants, so long as he's not president of the UK.

  8. #8

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    All in all I think he'd do well, although I do have to admit to being a blind supporter of Labour. Although in many ways he could be tried as a war criminal, he's one of the few people in Europe that has the ability to do the job, and ensure Europe remains a major political power.

    I think we need to realise what the post will be. He's not going to become the Tsar of Europe. He couldn't. He'd be a leader, but a leader in the sense that he'd give Europe political direction. Blair was very close to the Bush administration, and has already been called by Obama a 'good friend'. He has connections, and would be able to put europe in the political forefront.

    As it stands, in 20 years we won't have the international political importance that we once did. China and the USA will dominate international politics, along with 'rogue states' such as Iran and North Korea. The EU collectively the worlds biggest economy. We need to use this stature.

    The first president of the EU council may be British. Regardless of political party, I think we should be proud of that. (I presume I'm speaking to a 90% British audience). For me, if it was a pro EU conservative I'd still be proud. Maybe not pleased, but proud.

  9. #9

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    In an American point of view, I feel that he will not be successful in winning that bid due to the fact that he faced the same issues and how many consider Tony Blair in having a lower approval rating than George W Bush here. I would say that he has a chance but really he probably won't win. Too much controversy.
    Last edited by EvaIlyxtra; 01-Nov-2009 at 02:36. Reason: grammar

  10. #10

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    Well, as everyone can have read it from the news, the President of European Council is...a belgian guy! President Van Rompuy. Yay!
    Even us in Belgium have been surprised by his nomination, and it almost started a political crisis in the country. His nomination seems to have been criticized from foreign countries. Disappointed ones?
    Herman Van Rompuy isn't really the charismatic guy I would have wanted to see as the President of Europe. Anyway his political skills have been proven. He is a good conciliator, the only guy that has been able to take us out of a 9 months period without government as everyone was fighting (!)

    Anyway, I'm confused, who is the big boss? Barroso or Van Rompuy (respectively President of the European Commission and the European Council).

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