July 18, 2009

John Rentoul: We'll let you know, Mr Blair How Journalism Works, lesson 94: Timing is All. Eighteen months ago, Gordon Brown was forced through gritted teeth to say: "Tony Blair would be an excellent president." Then, as now, the Lisbon Treaty seemed likely to create the post of President of the European Council. Since then, the Irish electorate rejected the treaty, but now opinion polls suggest that they are likely to vote the other way in a new referendum on 2 October. So when Glenys Kinnock, the Europe Minister, said last week, "The UK Government is supporting Tony Blair's candidature for president of the Council", it set off a riot of speculation about who would get the job. In one sense, she wasn't saying anything new. In another, not only was she pre-empting the democratic decision of the Irish people, but she was formally committing the British Government in a way that the Prime Minister had not, quite. The timing, though, is most important. For a while, the Lisbon Treaty went away. The Irish were not the only road block to its ratification. There were the Czechs, the Poles and the German constitutional court. Suddenly, all the barriers are lifting, and it looks as if it really will happen. The German Bundestag will pass the laws required by the constitutional court before the general election in September. The Polish and Czech presidents have to do something involving sealing wax or similar, but they are hardly likely to scupper the whole deal now that their parliaments have approved it.


I'm a watchman for Christ, looking on the horizon in expectation for the fulfillment of God's Word.

The Typepad Team

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