Tonight Europe’s great and the good meet in a smoke filled room to select our new President (how democratic!). I confidently predict that there will be no street parties, bunting or celebration of any kind, not least because you probably won’t ever have heard of him or her.
For Tony Blair supporters this is bad news, but in all honesty I don’t believe he ever stood a chance for two reasons. Firstly, he’s damaged goods. Although he may not realise it himself, Iraq and his slavish following of the Bush Administration severely damaged his reputation in Europe and positioned him for all time as an ‘Atlantic Man’ rather than a European.
Secondly, and this is key to understanding who we are likely to get, Blair, though damaged, remains a big beast, capable of generating international headlines. Sarkozy, Merkel and Berlusconi won’t want that. If anyone is going to be photographed having tea with the Obama it is them, not some new President.
So what can we expect? My guess is that we will get a faceless bureaucrat who will be greeted in this country with a chorus of “who’s that?”