… don’t ask the people…
William Hague’s speech in the House of Commons on 21 January 2008 on the EU (Amendment) Bill to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon, without a referendum, was very amusing, and perceptive. Mr. Hague understands how the politicians, having concocted a camouflage for the EU Constitution to avoid allowing the people to vote, will themselves choose the President of Europe behind closed doors.
And then the incumbent will turn what was intended to be a ceremonial post into one which wages awesome power.Mr Hague, a wonderful biographer writer as he demonstrates in “William Pitt The Younger,” ( Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2005), has delivered what some are already calling the speech of 2008. He referred to reports of a drive led by President Sarkozy to make Tony Blair President of Europe. An extract follows, and to see an extract –which you are sure to find amusing – click on this Video Link .
“To see how the post of a permanent President of the European Council could evolve is not difficult even for the humblest student of politics, and it is, of course, rumoured that one Tony Blair may be interested in the job.
“ If that prospect makes us uncomfortable on the Conservative benches, just imagine how it will be viewed in Downing Street!
…nauseating, glutinous praise…
“ I must warn Ministers that having tangled with Tony Blair across the Dispatch Box on hundreds of occasions, I know his mind almost as well as they do.
“ I can tell them that when he goes off to a major political conference of a centre-right party and refers to himself as a socialist, he is on manoeuvres, and is busily building coalitions as only he can.
“We can all picture the scene at a European Council sometime next year.
“ Picture the face of our poor Prime Minister as the name "Blair" is nominated by one President and Prime Minister after another: the look of utter gloom on his face at the nauseating, glutinous praise oozing from every Head of Government, the rapid revelation of a majority view, agreed behind closed doors when he, as usual, was excluded.
“Never would he more regret no longer being in possession of a veto: the famous dropped jaw almost hitting the table, as he realises there is no option but to join in.
“ And then the awful moment when the motorcade of the President of Europe sweeps into Downing Street.
“The gritted teeth and bitten nails: the Prime Minister emerges from his door with a smile of intolerable anguish; the choking sensation as the words, "Mr President", are forced from his mouth.
“ And then, once in the Cabinet room, the melodrama of, "When will you hand over to me?" all over again.”