Blair and Barroso
The two somewhat put-upon politicians gave a joint press conference yesterday, taking in a range of European issues but - perhaps unsurprisingly, throwing out little that was controversial or new.
Barroso once again defended the Commission's new Mr Controversy, Rocco Buttiglione, in a fairly general manner:
"One thing is the personal beliefs of the members of the Commission, the other thing, differently sometimes, is the policies they are going to implement, and in matters of a sexual orientation I want to be very clear. My Commission is very liberal in that matter. We believe and respect different sexual orientations and there will be no discrimination about it. That is our policy, definitely, we have no discrimination in regard to that point."
One thing I remain amazed at is that Barroso has not yet brought up is the fact that one of his Commissioners is a very prominent homosexual. Yep, our very own Peter Mandelson could and quite possibly should have been used to counter the attacks against the allegedly homophobic Italian. Why has he kept silent? Is this a sign of infighting to come? Will relations within the Commission itself be strained?
Beyond that, Blair fobbed the press off with the typically vague nonsense which always seems to be spouted in this country whenever a pro-European is given a platform to say something good about the EU. When the hell are we going to get our act together? I mean, how more pathetic can you get than Blair's assurances that:
"I think there is every possibility with the new Commission that that agenda can be taken forward, and I think that will make a difference too if people in Britain here see that happening to British attitudes towards Europe as well. So it is important for Britain, it is important for Europe."
Just telling people it's important isn't going to convince them, Tony, especially coming from you.