Prime Minister Tony Blair’s conceited plan to resuscitate his political career to become the first President of Europe has been greeted with howls of anger and derision.
No sooner had No 10 Downing Street released a statement that it would support Blair’s candidacy to become the first fulltime President of the European Council than a “stop Blair” campaign swept the nation.
Letters to the editors and callers to talk back radio have delivered almost unanimous furious opposition to Blair’s resurrection. “Wouldn’t his appointment be a feather in the cap of Britain?” a BBC radio announcer asked a member of the public who had phoned in.
“No, the man is a disgrace. I wish I’d never ‘eard of ‘im.”
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
The post of European President will be created if the Irish vote to support the Lisbon Treaty at a referendum on October 2. At the first referendum they voted “No” which is what the Irish do as a matter of principle but they are said to have mellowed since and are now ready to accept the treaty along with the other 26 EU states who already have.
What is crippling Blair’s campaign is the Iraq War and the role he played as US President George Bush’s military and intellectual ally, giving the whole barbarous project a veneer of moral rectitude.
Scottish and Welsh MPs were so outraged by Blair’s conduct in misleading parliament over the war that they tried to have him impeached and thrown out of office. The legal advice they received cost taxpayers more than $30,000 and Blair supporters now want parliament to be reimbursed.
While the impeachment proceedings were always a hair-brained publicity stunt, there remains a band of human rights lawyers who are determined to prosecute Blair as a war criminal in The Hague. It raises the tricky problem — does the EU want its first president to be in the dock for Iraqi war crimes?
Solicitor Ben Birnberg, a veteran of Britain’s civil liberties movement, stated succinctly: “Whatever qualities he possessed 10 years ago, Tony Blair forfeited with the Iraq war. The one attribute required by an EU president is unqualified respect for the rule of law.”
Dr Caroline Lucas, leader of the European Parliament’s Greens, asked: “Can there be anyone outside the British government who believes the man who snubbed the EU over Iraq and joined with George Bush to lead us into an illegal war is the right person to become the EU’s first president?”
The Guardian’s wickedly funny cartoonist Steve Bell depicted Blair behind bars in an EU palace with the caption: “Tony Blair — war criminal.”
One person who won’t be supporting Blair is Dr Jonathan Miller, a formidable intellectual whose career spans science, theatre, opera, television and comedy. Interviewed on the eve his 75th birthday which falls on Tuesday (tomorrow), Miller, whose Cambridge chums included Alan Bennett, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, was asked what he thought of the Blairs.
“Well, I have a deep disdain for them. I couldn’t bear that grinning, money-hungry, beaming, Cliff Richard-loving, Berlusconi-adoring, guitar-playing twat, at the risk of being inoffensive. No, it’s that beaming Christianity and that frightful wife with a mouth on a zip-fastener right round to the back of her head. And both of them obsessed with being wealthy. And he got us into this disastrous war with Iraq because he had consulted with God. Like Bush. Well, anyone who claims to do something on the basis of a personal relationship to a non-existent deity…”
I’ve nothing to add.