I am concerned that Mr Blair watched the European Song Contest last week and took heed of the results. He, M Chirac, Herr Schroder and their friends in the old Europe of fifteen should be worried. I am none too certain of the political logic of adding ten new members to the EU apart from spitting in the Russian eye, but I am assuming that it was not an altruistic action, an act of kindness born out of a paternalistic feeling toward our Latvian, Estonian and other fellow Europeans. I cannot imagine our Tony having feelings of guilt about how badly we have treated them in the past and how it’s time to make amends. No, deep down I am sure there is a darker more selfish motive which can be wrapped up in the phrase “in Britain’s interest” or with more plain language and less spin “there is a good chance we can sell them something or pinch all their qualified health workers”. This, of course, implies that these new members will be so grateful to their new partners that they will not notice they have drawn the short straw until we have got all we want out of them.
After watching the Song Contest, I am beginning to wonder if we are not the suckers. It was not hard to notice who was voting for all their pals, especially if you even half listened to Terry Wogan’s mocking commentary. Our ten new members did not need any help feathering their own nests or about which side of the toast to butter. They were experts; they left the old European powers looking decidedly naive. Now translate that to the European Union and who is going to exploit whom, what with majority voting and the rest of the new constitution. Blair and his old European counterparts are going to have to forget about points scoring and spin and get down to defending the lager. They are going to have to stick together, vote as a team or they will find some new landlocked Eastern European state with a population about the size of Birmingham outwitting them and either getting all the cereal subsidies paid straight into their bank account or with a controlling share in the fishing in the Bay of Biscay.