Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blair for President? 'Not necessarily a good idea,' says his former adviser

And polls throughout Europe – and 38,000 petition signatories – agree. Jane Merrick reports on the gathering momentum to stop the former PM

The Independent

".....Sir Stephen Wall – one of the key architects of the post of EU president – said a high-profile figure such as Mr Blair was "not necessarily a very good idea" and cast doubt on his ability to build consensus among EU leaders. A figure from a smaller state would send a "unifying signal", he added.

The surprise intervention came amid growing signs that a President Blair would not be welcomed by ordinary citizens of Europe, despite their leaders showing support.....

Research by The Independent on Sunday suggests a democratic discrepancy between voters and national leaders – who wield the votes for the new president. The findings are supported by a European-wide petition to stop Mr Blair taking the post, which comes with a string of perks. Nearly 38,000 people have signed the petition, yet he remains a favourite with bookmakers and with a growing number of EU leaders.

After the IoS asked readers' opinions last week, hundreds responded – and those saying No to Mr Blair outnumbered Yes by 20 to 1. His role in the Iraq war was the main complaint.....

Comments from readers and petitioners suggest that Mr Blair appears to have misjudged the public anger that still exists over Iraq. Last night sources close to the former prime minister claimed he remained focused on his job as Middle East envoy and was "really enjoying his new life"......."

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