Stopblair.eu tries to halt Tony's march on Brussels
Will e-petition be 'President' Blair's Waterloo?
A bunch of Europhiles are hoping to scupper Tony Blair’s bid to become president of Europe using the very same sort of e-petition-powered pop democracy he toyed with himself in his time at Number 10.
Blair, who is at a slight loose end since leaving Downing Street last year, has apparently been in discussions with potential supporters including France’s President Sarkozy about taking up the role - if he can be assured it comes with some real power.
But the prospect of our Tone being top dog in Brussels has prompted Europhiles to launch a Stop Blair campaign. This includes a petition, which can be found here which expresses “our total opposition to the nomination of Tony Blair to the Presidency of the European Council”.
They highlight the stated role of the president: “To ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council" and “ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy".
The petitioners apparently believe that role wouldn’t sit well with Blair’s record of dragging his country, largely against its will, into the War in Iraq. They go on to claim: “The steps taken by Tony Blair's government, and his complicity with the Bush administration in the illegal programme of ‘extraordinary renditions’, have led to an unprecedented decline in civil liberties.”
This according to the anti-Blairistas is “in contradiction with the terms of the European Convention of Human Rights, which is an integral part of the treaty”. Indeed, they have something of a problem with Blair’s securing an exemption for the UK from The European Charter of Fundamental Rights.
As far as the petitioners are concerned, it is “unthinkable that the first President of the European Council should be the former head of a government that kept its country out of two key elements of the construction of Europe: the Schengen area of free movement of people and the Euro zone”.
Of course, this is where they’ve shot themselves in the foot. There are plenty of people in the UK who would hate to see Blair rolling up his shirt sleeves in Brussels and tossing his blazer over his shoulders in Strasbourg. Unfortunately for the petitioners, many of those anti-Blairites also wear blue ties and would hate to see Britain in both Schengen and the Euro.
Still, that little problem won’t be the death of the petition. Rather it will be the fact that Brussels is more than likely to pay the same heed to online petitions as Blair did – ie, sod all. ®