Colder than a continental breakfast

Blair’s candicacy in brief

Analysis by Calum Liddle

Tony Blair spent his latter years campaigning for the creation of an EU president – arguing it was an essential procédés against the creation of an EU “superstate”.

It was a preventative measure to deter the German government pushing for a directly elected president of the European Commission – the unelected body responsible for generating European law.

But rather than another article preaching a lesson on European operations, there’s something a little more exciting than cod going on behind the fog-glass doors of Brussels. A leadership contest.

Blair’s attempted coup d’etat has failed to attract a following – the corridors of Brussels are as cold as a continental breakfast for the former Prime Minister. Even his bruised socialist allies, who were battered in June’s European elections and desperate to prop up dwindling support, have turned their heads.

Martin Schulz, chairman of the European Parliament’s socialist group, made it plain that he and other Continental socialists didn’t want the EU presidency to go to “a Brit”.

Around 20 of the EU’s 27 governments are controlled by the centre-right. The odds didn’t look great in the first place.

But was ‘a Brit’ ever really in a position to represent Europe and her people’s interests to the world? After all, The UK is semi-detached from Europe. Most notably it is not in the euro area and is not in the Schengen zone permitting border-free travel around the EU.

The French made clear in Brussels today that Blair had lost their support. Nicolas Sarkozy stating that “people whose names are picked from the hat first, rarely ever get the job”.

Even on the cobbled streets of Britain, his policies on Iraq while Prime Minister, have deterred home-support. Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, said: “There is and will remain a link for the next generation between Iraq, Bush and Tony Blair. The British feel this more than anyone.”

Any dwindling chance of a last minute resurgence in support for Blair’s candidacy may ultimately depend on his Butlin’s companion – the centre-right premier – Silvio Berlusconi.

The well-oiled Italian leader is perfectly happy to see Blair in the job. But can Chancellor Merkle be persuaded by a bit of Mediterranean flair?

Je pense non.