Tuesday, 11 September 2012

My Speech today in reply to EU Foreign Cheif, Cathy Ashton

When I listen to Baroness Ashton extolling the great successes of the European External Action Service (EEAS), I am reminded of the movie Forrest Gump.

Where a well-meaning but seriously challenged and naive young man finds himself at the centre of events, He was surrounded by the great and the good, but was never really sure what was going on.

We have seen in the Arab Spring, the faltering and sometimes painful transition to democracy for long-suffering peoples.

 The ongoing civil war in Syria.

Fears over nuclear proliferation.

The death of Gaddafi, and the return of Putin.

These are challenging times in which we are seeing relationships and dynamics redefined.

However, at a recent meeting an exasperated diplomat from the Middle East told me that he regarded the High Commissioner as being more hindrance than help.

We all understand that Baroness Ashton drew the short straw - her role is that of caretaker of an unformed entity,

History is unlikely to remember her in any great detail. But she once found herself elevated to the British House of Lords without ever having received a single vote in any democratic election.

And as Forrest Gump pointed out so eloquently, life is like a box of chocolates, we never know what will come next.