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12:00pm on Wednesday, 20th February, 2008:

President of Europe


It seems that the EU's dalliance with democracy doesn't extend so far that it might actually use a plebicite to determine who gets to be its first president. Naturally, it's far more democratic to have the president chosen by people who are democratically elected leaders of their country. After all, it works just fine for the countries themselves (I didn't get to vote for Gordon Brown, I got to vote for a member of parliament; the members of parliament determine who becomes Prime Minister).

Now leaving aside all the concerns about whether we need or want a president at all, let alone an unelected one, who is it we're likely to get? Well, one name looming large in the frame is our very own Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

On the one hand, I don't want him to be leader because I don't trust his judgment. Anyone who is a self-proclaimed religious nutter should not be given authority over anything other than a temple. After turning the office of Prime Minister into one more like that of president, he'd turn the office of president into one more like that of Pope. It took us forever to get rid of him, and now he's gone he's coming back? No thank you!

On the other hand, though, Germany doesn't want him to be President. Fair enough, neither does most of the UK, but they couldn't leave it at that, could they? Oh no, they had to be arrogant about it. Here's what The Guardian reported this morning:

Formally, the post of president is to be decided by a qualified majority vote of EU countries, meaning that Germany, the EU's biggest and most powerful member, could be outvoted. But this is broadly seen as inconceivable. "You simply cannot impose a candidate against Germany's wishes," said the sources close to Merkel.

Oh you can't, can't you? Why not? That's the whole point of qualified majority voting, isn't it? Germany doesn't have a veto over who gets to be EU president, and no matter how much it stamps its feet it won't get one, either. If it doesn't like it, well tra-la-la, now it knows how Britain feels every time it gets overruled by the EU on everything from fishing and farming to taxation and employment law. If Blair does get the job, Germany can lap it up like the rest of us have to.

Why can't we give the job to that nice Irish man, Barack O'Bama?

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).