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Jane Merrick

Jane Merrick is the Political Editor of the Independent on Sunday. She has been a political journalist for seven years, previously working at the Press Association and the Daily Mail

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Boris should stick his fiver on Lipponen

Posted by Jane Merrick
  • Monday, 5 October 2009 at 12:19 pm

Boris Johnson writes today that Tony Blair will not become EU president because he is too much of an Atlanticist and a defender of the Anglo-Saxon market economy. He's willing to bet any reader £5 that he's right.

I think Boris is right - but also because Blair is too charismatic for Europeans. Yes, Sarkozy came round to the idea a few months ago after initial reticence, and he, like Merkel will be able to shape the outcome more than other EU leaders. But the Blair story will continue for the next few weeks, and it will become too toxic for many leaders.

Former Spanish PM Felipe Gonzalez is said to be a write-off because he is not fluent in English. I reckon Boris should stick his £5 on Paavo Lipponen, the former Finnish PM who at the moment is about 7-1. Lipponen, like Blair, supported the Iraq war and this contributed to him being voted out of office in 2003, but unlike Blair the association does not haunt him six and a half years on.

PL is fluent in English and is well respected in Europe. He was PM for 11 years and before becoming an MP was a party official specialising in foreign relations for the social democrat party.

In Helsinki, he is seen as a "grumpy old man" but was also regarded as a "grumpy young man" when he was younger. He played water polo until recently and swims daily all year round. Like Blair, he is writing his memoirs. My Helsinki source says: "He is not as charming as TB but has far more substance than appearance." A Finnish Gordon Brown then. They even looked alike when they were younger. A bit. Probably right for a job like president of the EU Council.


ron_broxted wrote:
Monday, 5 October 2009 at 12:15 pm (UTC)
Why the emphasis on fluency in English? The working language of the E.U would tend to be German.
Bliar or Lipponen
paulstpancras wrote:
Monday, 5 October 2009 at 01:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, a first President of European Council who would be better than Bliar would come from of one of the smaller nations. It should be held by someone from a country at the heart of Europe -euro participant and Schengen member. Bliar had 10 years to put Britain in the heart of the machine if not the driving seat. Bliar did bugger all, parliamentary welfare bum, to reorient British public opinion. He was frit of Murdoch.

Bliar is too pro-American to be trusted to defend Europe's interest.
Re: Bliar or Lipponen
ron_broxted wrote:
Monday, 5 October 2009 at 01:46 pm (UTC)
My remark on fluency in English was deleted. Perkele!
Re: Bliar or Lipponen
paulstpancras wrote:
Monday, 5 October 2009 at 03:46 pm (UTC)
Deleted? Language fluency? Perhaps the EU should work in Latin? Bring it back into schools, make it obligatory for university entrance and running for election? Save on translation down the road. Television and radio news in Latin, latin print media, latin internet. Imagine a Europe of Borises (what is the plural of Boris or the collective noun -a cove of Borises -?) at least it would chuckle! Bullingdons-R-us?
Re: Bliar or Lipponen
ron_broxted wrote:
Monday, 5 October 2009 at 06:42 pm (UTC)
Plural of Boris? Borisii? Knobii? Latin on the radio, Mundi Latini (via YLE) from Vatican Radio (surprise). The E.U language should be Norwegian (either Nynorsk or Boksmal) that ought to shake the buggers up.
Re: Bliar or Lipponen
paulstpancras wrote:
Monday, 5 October 2009 at 07:11 pm (UTC)
Hmnn! Maybe Boris a derivative of Baruch? Could be Spanish, after Philip, by way of Constantinoples or Khazar. Borisii sounds good.

Word is there's good money riding on a minority government, Tories struggle to keep a grip, Boris after successful Olympics moves in and Bongo Bongo Boris wins in 2014 just in time to see second term President Blair off. Boris the First cycles to Downing Street.

They could speak Lapp in Brussels.
Re: Bliar or Lipponen
ron_broxted wrote:
Monday, 5 October 2009 at 10:09 pm (UTC)
Boris, I'd say slavonic. Minority govt? Could be a fight between far right & far left.
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