David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, has been making the running in the efforts to secure the EU council presidency for his old boss, Tony Blair. (Miliband was the head of the Downing Street policy unit under Blair.) The Charlemagne blog suggests, amusingly, that Miliband’s heart may not be in it – and that he is playing some sort of weird double game, designed to advance his own ambitions.
But, whatever his secret musings, Miliband made an interesting and thoughtful speech on Britain and Europe a couple of days ago at the IISS in London. He argued that world is heading for an “Age of Continents” – in which sheer size will be increasingly important. The world will either be run by a G2 of China and the US, or by a G3 that includes the EU. The moral is that Britain has to throw its lot in with the EU, or face increasing irrelevance. As Miliband himself notes, the Tories aversion to deeper European integration is so intense that they would probably prefer increasing irrelevance – an idea that William Hague seemed to accept in his own IISS speech, a few weeks back.