The funniest speech Parliament has ever seen by William Hague.
Even before the Lisbon Treaty was signed, speculation was rife as to who would be the first European president as proposed in the new document. Now it is signed and sealed, one man heads the list of potential candidates.
A confidential document obtained by European Voice highlights Tony Blair’s ambition to become the first European Union president. The memo, which was drafted by two of Blair’s closest advisers – disgraced former minister Peter Mandelson and PR guru Philip Gould – once again underlines the UK’s determination to mould the Union in its image. Here it is:
From: Peter and Philip
Re: President of Europe
Congratulations for letting Peter [Hain, Europe minister] take the flak for our plans to crown you the first President of Europe.
It's great to have someone who is willing to get kebabed by the press for voicing your private opinions.
However, we were a little concerned at the reaction of some of the red-tops - especially Trevor Kavanagh's piece in The Sun -- referring to your "vaulting ambition to become the first elected Emperor of Europe".
Kavanagh quotes George Eustice, of the 'No' campaign, as saying: "The last person to aspire to run Europe was Napoleon Bonaparte - and look what happened to him."
Two points: we must win over Kavanagh. As you know, he is more important than most of your cabinet colleagues, with a constituency of over
3 million people. Can't you make him a peer or your new spin-doctor now that Alastair [Campbell, former Blair spokesman] has retired to the shadows?
Secondly, we have to avoid all comparisons with Napoleon. You may remember what he said after the Brits gave him a whipping at Waterloo: "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is for ever."
We must emphasise that the palace we are proposing (the only partially used Palais d'Egmont) has been offered free of charge by Guy [Verhofstadt, Belgian PM] and is the only downtown place big enough for your growing family. We also have to stress that the €250,000 salary is only marginally more than Romano Prodi's - and he only works part-time anyway.
We were both impressed by your 'Newsnight' interview last Tuesday and the way you cunningly hinted at retirement after the next election. That will please Gordon [Brown, finance minister] who is getting more and more impatient to take over the reins. We suggest you arrange another one of those pledging dinners with him and promise to let him take control of the party if he agrees to support the UK's entry into the euro.
Winning a referendum on the euro would allow you to bow out with dignity in 2006 and jump straight into the EU presidency, which - coincidentally - becomes vacant that year.
But the battle is not just on the home front. The collapse of support for those 'Old Labour' lefties on the continent means there are more and more contenders for the post.
If [German Chancellor Gerhard] Schröder loses in September - as we predict - he could be in with a shout. Gerhard's problem is he's a leftie and in the current climate, that's about as big a vote-winner as being a Castro-lover in Florida.
More of a threat is [Spanish premier José María] Aznar. He may be charismatically challenged, but he's a wily SOB and even more right-wing than you are. He's also vowed to step down after the next election.
Maybe you could do a deal with him - Aznar gets to be the next Commission president (which will be pretty powerless if our plans are accepted) and you get your EU president job.
You could sweeten the pill by promising to get rid of that pesky Solana bloke. Hell, if Kissinger wants to phone Europe, he should be phoning you, not that backslapping Spaniard or the Last Governor [Chris Patten, ex-viceroy of Hong Kong].
We are busy drawing up a hit list of problems for you to tackle from Day One in your new job. We believe you should do away with Green and White Papers and have Europe-wide focus groups instead. The flag should go too. And that pompous anthem by the deaf German needs a makeover. Peter has promised to ask Noel and Liam.
[Gallagher, Oasis frontmen] to see what they can do.
Finally PM, there is the delicate matter of your hair. We all know how important it is to have thick and lustrous hair - just look at the fate of those two bald Tories - and both Gerhard and José María have magnificent manes. We therefore propose that you take out an injunction against any newspapers that claim your hair is receding. The line is: the PM's hair is not thinning, greying or receding - his head is just getting bigger.