Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stop Blair makes the news

European Tribune's Stop Blair campaign has made the news. First, the BBC:

And there are formidable problems. Some will oppose him because of his enthusiasm for the Iraq war. Indeed there is already a website aimed at stopping him on these grounds.

Some will consider that he represents a country that has opted out of the euro, a common police and justice policy, a common immigration policy and will never be serious about Europe.

The smaller countries think the big countries already have too many people at the top.

Britain has twice wielded the veto over big jobs and some would like to return the compliment. And so on. But perhaps the biggest hurdle is that old Brussels saw “front-runners never win”.

And the Daily telegraph:
Europhiles have launched a "Stop Blair" campaign to block any hopes the former Prime Minister has of becoming European Union President later this year.

Internet campaigners, based in France, went live with the website in a bid to collect one million signatures opposing Tony Blair’s candidature for Europe’s top job.

Jérôme Guillet, a Paris based investment banker, explained that the idea for the campaign emerged "spontaneously and unanimously" from the pro-EU online bloggers community European Tribune.

"Tony Blair embodies many things we do not like. He is universally reviled," he said.

"This is not the rest of Europe against Britain. It is against him and what he stands for, especially that he is too close to George W Bush."

Yesterday, I watched the signature count crawl from 400 to 600. When I got up this morning, it had just topped 1,000. When I checked back a few hours later, it had doubled, and is now approaching 2,500. This isn't anywhere near the target they've set themselves, but it's a good start. And it will be very interesting to see whether a blog can mobilise a pan-European campaign in this way.