Daily Archives: August 5, 2009

They are both running non-campaigns for two very different European Union jobs (that don’t even exist yet). But there’s a chance that Lord Patten’s bid to become Europe’s first foreign minister could scupper Tony Blair’s prospects of becoming EU president. Here is how.

Relations between Patten and Blair have never been good. Patten strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq, winning him a lot of friends in both European capitals and the EU parliament. Days before the outbreak of war, he gave a speech in Strasbourg warning that it’s “hard to build democracy at the barrel of a gun”, which had the MEPs swooning like teenage groupies. Read more

The mandarins will not have enjoyed reading Paul Richards’ lively piece in the Times. There’s plenty for the Tories to mull over too. One point he made was particularly striking: Whitehall missed six out of ten of its own targets between 2005 and 2009.

He took the figure from an excellent Institute for Government report that tries to draw some lessons from the weaknesses of the “Public Service Agreements” regime. This chart shows how badly the targets were missed. It’s clear that they were either far too ambitious, or the departments failed to raise their game. Read more