Where’s democracy now in Europe?


I love politicians as much as the rest of you. They are, as we all know, mostly dedicated public servants with a mission to make the World a better place.

Well, I guess some of them are like that but not very many.

Politician-watchers though must be fully alert to one of the kings of the political jungle showing his superlative dedicated public servant skills.

Do you remember the Iraq War? The second one?

In the week where well over 150 people were killed in Baghdad, it might be a good time to remember just what Britain and America were told about the reasons for us going there.

Post 9/11, we were told there was a real threat to our security from Al Qaeda influenced Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” and that an invasion of Iraq was essential to eliminate that threat. This was NOT to do with “nation building” but an essential military operation in response to imminent danger.

President Bush and Prime Minister Blair with their advisers produced as much paper evidence as they thought they needed to push their way through the United Nations and their own legislatures. Tony Blair with the help of that so-called “dodgy dossier” got his war plans through the British Parliament in the face of mass demonstrations which culminated with over a million people marching through Central London.

Manipulation was what it was all about. He believed in this war, he promised his help to George Bush and nothing was going to stop him getting his own way. Not Parliament, not the British people, not the United Nations and certainly not the community of nations known as the European Union.

Well, he got his way but he also got found out and, sadly, he also got away with it.

Now, “friends” tell members of the British press, Mr. Blair would definitely stand for the job of President of the European Union, “if the job is big enough.”

Do we still really live in a country, or on/near a continent, where he can seriously think that a majority of people would want him to be the unelected President of a community of nations which is still unable to define it’s collective role in the World?

The Lisbon Treaty, a projected European Constitution, has struggled round Europe with government after government pushing and manipulating its electorates to vote for it. After a seamy and cynical set of individual referenda, in Ireland’s case repeated because the people didn’t get it “right” the first time, we are now waiting on the President of the Czech Republic to get bullied into submission and then the constitution will be set in concrete.

In that, unsurprizingly densely written document, there is provision for a permanent President but his or her role is woolily defined. This is why Mr. Blair gets his friends to indicate that he would be interested if the job was “big enough.”

Big enough to persuade him to give up his £2.5 million consultancy with an American investment bank, big enough for him to give up £2 million deal with a Swiss finance company and big enough for him to give up his £100,000 after dinner speaking engagements. Oh yes, big enough too for him to give up solving the Middle East problem where he acts as an unpaid peace envoy.

So how big does that job have to be? I guess not “big enough” if it is just a matter of chairing meetings of the European Council. No, just look at the Iraq War, if you want to know what would be big enough. He wants to be free to push his way through any legislature so that he can achieve what he “believes” no matter how the rest of us would like to vote.

Perfect then that this job, big or small, will not be decided electorally. Whoever becomes this new European President will have got there by “friends” of one grouping discussing candidates with “friends” of other groupings. France, Germany and Britain will try to bully the smaller nations who will, in their turn, try to show that they have muscle too.

Politicians, dedicated public servants remember, prefer deals to be struck behind closed doors.

Citizens of Europe, don’t let our Mr. Blair anywhere near that job.

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