Well, I’m afraid that it is no good just saying, well thank God that it isn't Tony Blair! The selection of a so-called President of Europe (one of three in fact, if you include the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament) is a slap in the face of democracy. The vast majority of the population of Europe were not asked if they wanted this appointment. The British Government reneged on a manifesto pledge to give the British people a referendum. And this is the result. We have as the unelected President of 500 million people in Europe, a short-term leader of a divided country smaller than North Yorkshire (Belgium), the unknown Mr Rompuy Pumpuy.
To add insult to injury the newly created European Foreign Secretary’s job has been given to a career opportunist, who has never faced an election in her life and who owes her political career since 1989 to patronage by the Labour Party. Plucked from obscurity, she has no Foreign Policy experience but Catherine Ashton had the temerity to claim that she was the best person for the job.
The truth lies elsewhere, I think. Reports in the French newspaper Le Monde suggest that Gordon Brown cut a deal with President Sarkozy at this week's Brussels summit. In return for French support for her the Prime Minister is said to have agreed to hand Ms Ashton’s highly influential old job of Internal Market Commissioner to the former French foreign minister Michel Barnier. Both Barnier and Rompuy want to scrap Britain's EU rebate, a rebate already massively reduced by Tony Blair as a spiteful present to the UK just before he quit as PM.
Ms Ashton had only had that job a short time, put in as an inoffensive apology for quitter Mandelson, when he jumped the EU ship to take over the running of Westminster. Yet another unelected official lording it over us.
The divine right of Kings, or in this case European Heads of State, to make shady deals behind closed doors has made the famed Democratic Deficit at the heart of Europe now a yawning chasm. In any other job such blatant patronage would be illegal. These appointments are an embarrassment for the whole of Europe & we should do our best to shame these flunkies into an early resignation.
So my message to the new President and “High Representative” (accompanied by the “Agincourt Salute”) is “GO AWAY, WE DON’T WANT YOU, WE DID NOT ELECT YOU SO RESIGN.”