Blair's final Mansion House speech - the EU
"Europe gives us weight and strength. In fact, in my view, Europe should be far more confident about its potential.Provided it eschews grand institutional visions and concentrates on grand practical visions - for prosperity, in energy, fighting crime, in developing defence capability - it has a huge, even exciting future. Enlargement has been remarkable." The proviso "Provided it eschews grand institutional visions" is of course the problem. The EU is nothing if not a grand institutional vision which has clearly set its face against both democracy and accountability to those it governs. Hence the need for continuing and active eu-sceptics. AND the next crucial statements coming somewhat later, these frankly frightening words, all of which may be found in the full text of the speech as published by the International Herald Tribune, linked here are as follows: "...our partnership with America and our membership of the EU are precisely suited to Britain.
For that reason, it would be insane - yes I would put it as strongly as that - for us to give up either relationship.
For that reason anti-Americanism or Euroscepticism are not merely foolish they are the surest route to the destruction of our true national interest.
Both alliances are founded in history. Both are, however, now, at this point, utterly validated by the future. These are no misty-eyed products of sentiment, relics of a bygone age to be taken out and cradled fondly.
They are the vital life source of British power, influence and weight in the new global community taking shape around us. To nurture and enhance them is not vain glory.
It is the most hard-headed realism.
Lose them - and alliances are like all living things, neglect them and they die - and we will spend a long time struggling to revive what's gone."The facts of course argue otherwise. It is not the EU Rapid Reaction Force fighting with us in Iraq, Italy and Poland have troops to be sure, but it is the Americans and Australians with us to the fore. It was a war memorial to our dead kinsmen from New Zealand that the Queen opened in Hyde Park last weekend. These are the vital alliances that in Blair's words he and his recent predecessors, particularly John Major and Edward Heath, - have neglected and are allowing to die. Of course we need a strong alliance and relationship with our near Continental neighbours, particularly France with whom we fought two world wars for freedom and liberty in the past century. Indeed through Nato we are still in action together with many continental nations and the Canadians through our main defensive treaty organisation Nato. The authoritarian Blair who has turned Britain into the most watched nation in the world and treated its parliament with contempt, is bound to trumpet the corporatist and anti-democratic EU, but in looking to our future (which can validate nothing until it becomes the past) I suggest that tried and tested friendships based on a common sense of freedom, democracy and a shared heritage should be the last alliances to cast aside, not the first! Blair's anticipated next personal gravy train must not become confused with the true national interest. If there is one man who has done more to make this excerpt from his speech a joke, it is Tony Blair himself - "Britain in this early 21st Century world is a country with extraordinary strengths. It is well and justifiably respected" NOT!