Janet Daley in the Telegraph argues that Blair’s attempt to bridge the divide between America and Europe is doomed to failure. Blair made an empassioned plea on Monday that “the free peoples of the world” should be joining together to liberate those people who do not enjoy the “rights we take for granted”. Surely on this, he suggested, we could all agree: democracy, and its spread, is a good thing.
The trouble (according to Daley) is that Europeans and Americans do not share the merits of democracy. “It may sound apocalyptic”, she says, “but I do believe that the democratic experiment in continental Europe, begun just over 200 years or so ago, is coming to a close.” The argument goes that the European Union is creating a benign oligarchy where real political power resides within elite circles (as it does in France) and will conduct its business in the corridors rather than in the assemblies. The people cannot be trusted. Meanwhile, the United States perseveres with the belief, which Europe regards as crass, that giving ordinary people power over their governing class is the only hope for peace and security. Blair, it seems, is wasting his time – the ideological divide is too immense – and should pick a side: Europe or America. He can’t have both.