Another bet from Boris: I will wager a fiver with any reader – proceeds to charity – that Blair will not be chosen as Europe’s president, if and when the Treaty of Lisbon proceeds
A spectre is haunting Europe, my friends. That spectre has a famously toothy grin and an eye of glistering sincerity and an almost diabolical gift of political self-reinvention. Barely two years after he stood down as prime minister, it seems that Tony Blair is about to thrust himself back into our lives. It turns out that he is not content merely to be in charge of brokering peace in the Middle East – which you would have thought was a full-time job for anyone. It isn’t enough to potter around the world making speeches about climate change and Africa. He wants more, much more, than to consecrate his remaining days to the promotion of inter-faith dialogue and school sport.
Boris challenges Blair: “With his colossal mortgages in Buckinghamshire and London’s Connaught Square, you might have thought he needed to stick firmly on the after-dinner circuit. You might have thought that the Blair finances oblige him to keep making boss-eyed speeches to armies of tuxedoed Arizona neo-cons about the importance of the special relationship and beating up Saddam Hussein. Well, not any more, it seems. Blair has evidently piled up such a fortune that he is ready for one more big public job, and we now discover that his extinction as prime minister was only the prelude for his re-emergence – like some wizard in The Lord of the Rings – in a guise more powerful than we can possibly imagine.
He wants to be President of Europe. He wants to be the one-man incarnation of the wishes of 500 million people and 27 countries. He wants to be the answer to the decades old question originally posed by Henry Kissinger: “Who should the President of the United States ring if he wants to be put in urgent contact with Europe?”
The solution used to be a delicious muddle of rotating troikas of council presidencies and secretariats in Luxembourg. But now, if and when the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, the answer is simple and elegant. Get me Europe on the line, says Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin – and instantly the phone will trill in Connaught Square, and Cherie will pick it up. “Barack! How lovely to hear you. I expect you want the President,” she will say. “Darling!” she will call upstairs to where her husband is in the bath, meditating on a vast new speech on solving the problems of the Middle East with a programme of inter-faith school sport. “It’s Barack on the hotline! He wants to know whether Europe will support fresh sanctions against Iran!” And President Blair will absently push aside his rubber duck, and shout back that Europe will ring America back as soon as Europe has finished in the bathroom.
As for leaders less powerful and insistent than Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, they will just have to wait their turn. David Cameron will have to join the queue of 27 prime ministers all wanting a bit of face time with President Blair, who will no doubt be voted a Blair Force One Jumbo Jet and all the motorcycle outriders, marine corps bands and fresh-faced interns that go with a presidential office. It is really a monumental poke in the eye for the British electorate. They finally get rid of the fellow after 10 years, only to find that he has re-emerged as a kind of Euro-emperor. He is about to dive in like Little Jack Horner and pull out the plummest job on the world stage – and all because the Labour government was so sickeningly deceitful as to betray its election promise and ram through the new Constitution without a referendum.
If we are going to have a European President, there is a good case for having Blair rather than anyone else – and that is precisely why he won’t get it. It is not just that he is permanently and irrevocably identified with George W Bush and the dodgy pretext for war on Iraq.
I will wager a fiver with any reader – proceeds to charity – that Blair will not be chosen as Europe’s president, if and when the Treaty of Lisbon proceeds.
The job will go Buggins-style to some relatively inoffensive Luxembourg socialist or superannuated Finnish environment minister. At which point, of course, the question is posed with even more force. Who is this person? Who elected them? By what right will he or she be purporting to speak for us in the UK?
In what sense will the views of the “President of Europe” be related to the views of the British people? That is a question we deserve to have publicly debated, and that is why David Cameron and William Hague are so right and so brave to ignore the vote in Ireland and keep alive the hope that we can have our say, too.”
And I bet you another – that Boris will keep to his wager if you rise to the challenge and write to him: Mayor of London, Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, More London, London SE1 2AA.
This column appears in full today in The Daily Telegraph.
36 thoughts on “The Treaty of Lisbon”
Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus. No thanks.
[Ed: This Latin phrase was supposedly carved upon Arthur’s tomb at Glastonbury, according to Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur 21:7:
Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place… many men say that there is written upon his tomb this verse: Hic jacet Arthurus, Rex quondam, Rexque futurus.
Translated in full, the phrase is “Here lies Arthur, King Once, and King in the Future”–or as T.H. White so succinctly translates it, “The Once and Future King.” ]
I agree with Boris that Blair will possibly have a big shock and not get the Presidency that he believes to be his. One reason may well be that everyone knows were he to get the job, it would, in fact, be Cherie running the show as she tried to do in Downing Street with her Cabinet meetings.
What does it say in the Bible – He who humbles himself shall be exalted (Boris) – he who exalts himself shall be humbled (Blair)
I think Britain will laugh like a drain if Bliar doesn’t get the job.
It turns out that he is not content merely to be Mayor of London – which you would have thought was a full-time job for anyone – but wants to highlight the Tories currently confused stance on Europe.
Boris Johnson suggests voters could be ‘consulted’ after Cameron drops referendum.
What’s with all the consulting (eg congestion charge western extension)? Does it indicate a directionless leader, rather too spineless to take on powerful lobbies even if it’s in the public interest?
How can Boris be so mean to Blair when he has admitted that he secretly admires Cherie?
Blair i agree is not the man for the job! and it is excellent that you speak out publicly-
As too many have stayed quiet- which is sinister! His track record just with Government has too many blemishes leaving aside War , economic chaos, devalued Pound ! too many consultants have been made excessively rich for what ? like the IT NHS and the Mental Health Sub contracting etc etc
Excellent speeh on the Opening day of the Conference- more fresh , bright/ passionate speeches are needed– as for assisting the Banking Industry- few have expressed the concerns so eloquently
by the way the irish behaved poorly as to vote No , and now Yes- one wonders of the whole matter is not fixed up!
as who could have supported anything the Government had proposed with the economic mess that prevails in Ireland currently- quite right Hague and DC need to stay committed to the idea – the UK wil have a chance to decide ? and if the Nation decides an alternative path so be it !
@david thompson: I think the Irish just cut to the chase; there would be another vote and another until the desired result was delivered. All at public expense wasn’t it?
It tells you all you need to know about the calibre of the European Project that Blair’s name is even mentioned in this contest. His lust for the post just proves that, whatever else he is, he is no democrat, but rather, the grubby product of a grubby society that puts self advancement above everything else.
Mr. Cameron MUST give us a referendum whatever happens in Europe. Europe only suits the ambitions of Germany and France and the minnow nations, like Latvia, who don’t feel confident enough to stand alone. Britain will ALWAYS get the worst of both worlds – its just built into the whole corrupt premise!
When Ireland recovers economically and wakes up to the fact that it’s locked into this huge, undemocratic enterprise for good, it will bitterly regret last week’s decision.
It turns out that he is not content merely to be in charge of brokering peace in the Middle East – which you would have thought was a full-time job for anyone.
well it would be a full time job if he were actually engaged IN that activity but unless I’m missing something (or Blair has gone uncharacteristically humble and quiet), he’s not been much focused on that, has he?
The Lisbon voting is ridiculous. How come Ireland’s first NO vote did not count? How come Ireland had to do another voting and this time Ireland HAD to say YES?
Clearly, you can see Irish folks consume too much potato and it affects their brains. If they have any.
Clearly, you can see Brussels’s dictatorship and tyrannism – the signs of communism. And it is only early days.
I dread the day when the EU turns into a communism-influenced socialist Union in place of the late USSR and my beloved Western Europe disappears forever. We must have a referendum.
Clearly, you can see Irish folks consume too much potato and it affects their brains. If they have any
Glad to see you resisted the temptation to post a racist comment there, Bach.
Boris was totally right to bring the EU into the headlines. It is THE most important issue of all. No point in ‘Call me Dave’ laying out a manifesto if he ends up having to get the President to sanction it. Trouble is that after 40 years of dispute over the EU, those that were around at the beginning are weary, and those that were not do not know what it is like to live in a free, sovereign state. So we have a people who are tired of the whole issue and who have been persuaded that there would be no life outside the federation. Sadly, by taking this attitude the British are playing totally into the hands of the Eurocrats. The Germans found that a quick, brutal (but honest)federalization did not work, so now we have a long, deceitful war of attrition. Very much harder to mobilise people against it – but never give up.
I always feel the Private Eye ‘Vicar of Albion’ got Blair about right – in fact one of the best running funnies the Eye has ever done. Better even I think than Mrs Wilson’s Diary or Diary of John Major both of blessed memory.
However before we go in for too much careless EU-bashing then in the light of European history for the thousand or 1500 years up to 1945 we should think on the minor miracle of an organisation containing Germany, France, the UK, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia… as members. Hungarians loathe the Romanians for pinching half their territory in 1918, the Slovaks loathe the Hungarians for rather similar reasons, and of course the Nazis behaved absolutely atrociously in Poland only 70-odd years ago – and Germany attacked France and occupied part or all of it three times recently (1870-71, 1914-18, 1939-45). Doubtless there are other Continental rivalries I’ve omitted. Finally there’s the rivalry between the UK and France going back at least to 1066 (although admittedly that was thawing out from about the Crimea onwards). Oh, and I don’t think the Spanish and Portuguese are that keen on each other although it’s been a while since they actually came to blows.
For this reason I’m staunchly in favour of the European Union whilst acknowledging it is nowhere near perfect and does need to be made more accountable. Why not throw the Presidency open to a continent-wide election? If India can run a democracy of 1200+ million surely we Europeans could cope with one of 500 million or so. Goodness, we might actually get someone better than the ghastly Tone!
Good to hear rich boy Cameron admitting on the Today programme that he’s a fox hunter.
Would that Boris Johnson were so honest about his background and interests.
“Boris Johnson claims that he is the victim of a “ruthless” dirty tricks campaign – including hacking into computers” funny how we never heard any more about that computer hacking nonsense. It was a nasty thing to allege, and made radio 4 news. Who was doing the dirty tricks again?
Boris, I’m in. Not only because I think you’ll lose, but because I’m confident in the complete impossibility of your collecting, should you win.
By Aslan, can it be that I, the token Canuckistani Anarchist, am the only one interested in the financial proposal here? O for shame, Tories!
@Humphrey Reader: We should get someone better than the ghastly Tone! well put
@raincoaster: I can assure you that if you write to the address above you will get an acknowledgement and you will be in on the bet and he will honour it.
Oh god, you mean like, ON PAPER and shit?
Okay, fine. Prepare for the least tasteful postcard the Okanagan Valley can provide. If I win, will you reimburse me for the international postage, or will you cheap out?
@raincoaster: Make sure you include your rsvp address
My parole officer’s not going to like that, but okay.
I sent the below to all 3 party leaders but as yet have has no reply. I wonder why?
Please answer this question.
How can the UK as a supposed democratic country remain as a member of the EU after todays 2nd vote in Ireland and the fact that the EU leaders want to appoint an unelected president. Which proves conclusively that the EU is an undemocratic organisation.
Lets not forget that under the pretext of bringing democracy to other countries we have invaded both Iraq and Afganistan.
So is the UK still a democratic country? All payments to the EU should be suspended untill we can ascertain its political stance.
@Andy Birch: Andy – sure I can understand your point. It is not, however, in the gift of the Leader of the Opposition to decide alas.
@Andy Birch: >Which proves conclusively that the EU is an undemocratic organisation – that must be right if we have the Council of Ministers which are an unelected body.
History has witnessed the rises and falls of Empires, Unions, Dynasties and tyrants:
-The Roman Empire
-The Russian Empire
-The Mongol Empire
-The Fascism Empire and Hitler
-The USSR Union and communist mass murderers/ leaders
-The Eastern Block and communist mass murderers/ leaders
-Cambodian communists and mass murderer/ leader Pol Pot
-Chinese communists and mass murderers/ leaders
-The Chinese Dynasties
-The Dynasty http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081856/
What goes up will come down! ( cough, cough )
The EU has been created by the Russia/communism influenced western socialists to replace the collapsed USSR of their Russian communist masters.
Peter Mandelson openly has links with the Russian mafias who have the backing of Putin. Labour Lord Truscott married a Russian spy whose father was a General in the Russian army. Very handy indeed – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1133117/Revealed-The-secret-Soviet-past-sleaze-peer-Truscott.html
This EU superstate will crumble, collapse and end up in tears because it is too big and too vast for the rulers to control from their Brussels HQ and for the public to keep an eye on the rulers. Meaning inefficiency and open looting of public money.
This nonsensical EU will collapse just like the nonsensical USSR did.
If David Cameron backs down on giving a referendum (for instance if the Czechs can’t delay things until we have a General Election) would Boris be able to find someway of forcing the issue? If we don’t get a chance for a vote now, it may well be too late…
@Philipa: Have you seen those comical photos of Irish folks crying and jumping for joy in the streets because of their YES vote?
Have you watched that Oscar winning film The Killing Fields? In it, Cambodian civilians cried and jumped for joy greeting the Cambodian communist tanks rolling into the city. They were welcoming their own future murderers.
I suppose a sovereign nation can always withdraw from a Treaty of this kind?
@Bach: Very sobering comparison. I really do think the Tories should be finding if there’s a way to force a referendum. Or at least put pressure on Labour. John Redwood appears to think that all talk about the Lisbon Treaty at conference is a MSM annoyance.
@Philipa: To be honest, if the the Tories back out of a referendum (because Lisbon is already ratified by then, or whatever)I think Boris should consider a leadership challenge. It’s essential we have a vite on this. It’s our only chance – and I also think (pre-election) it would be a massive vote-winner.
Boris on YouTube on the Lisbon Treaty in interview with Jeremy Paxman at Party Conference
@Tiresias: @Melissacw: Did you know? The death penalty was abolished for treason shortly after this rabble took control of the U.K.
Vis-a-vis the Andrew, Diane and Michael love-in tonight – THEY ARE LIFTS NOT ELEVATORS!
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